Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood

George MacDonald

CHAPTER I

. DESPONDENCY AND CONSOLATION.
Before I begin to tell you some of the things I have seen and heard, in
both of which I have had to take a share, now from the compulsion of
my office, now from the leading of my own heart, and now from that
destiny which, including both, so often throws the man who supposed
himself a mere on-looker, into the very vortex of events--that destiny
which took form to the old pagans as a gray mist high beyond the heads
of their gods, but to us is known as an infinite love, revealed in the
mystery of man--I say before I begin, it is fitting that, in the absence of
a common friend to do that office for me, I should introduce myself to
your acquaintance, and I hope coming friendship. Nor can there be any
impropriety in my telling you about myself, seeing I remain concealed
behind my own words. You can never look me in the eyes, though you
may look me in the soul. You may find me out, find my faults, my
vanities, my sins, but you will not SEE me, at least in this world. To you
I am but a voice of revealing, not a form of vision; therefore I am bold
behind the mask, to speak to you heart to heart; bold, I say, just so
much the more that I do not speak to you face to face. And when we
meet in heaven--well, there I know there is no hiding; there, there is no
reason for hiding anything; there, the whole desire will be alternate
revelation and vision. I am now getting old--faster and faster. I cannot
help my gray hairs, nor the wrinkles that gather so slowly yet ruthlessly;
no, nor the quaver that will come in my voice, not the sense of being
feeble in the knees, even when I walk only across the floor of my study.
But I have not got used to age yet. I do not FEEL one atom older than I
did at three-and-twenty. Nay, to tell all the truth, I feel a good deal
younger.--For then I only felt that a man had to take up his cross;
whereas now I feel that a man has to follow Him; and that makes an
unspeakable difference.--When my voice quavers, I feel that it is mine
and not mine; that it just belongs to me like my watch, which does not
go well-now, though it went well thirty years ago--not more than a
minute out in a month. And when I feel my knees shake, I think of them
with a kind of pity, as I used to think of an old mare of my father's of
which I was very fond when I was a lad, and which bore me across
many a field and over many a fence, but which at last came to have the
same weakness in her knees that I have in mine; and she knew it too,
and took care of them, and so of herself, in a wise equine fashion. These
things are not me--or _I_, if the grammarians like it better, (I always
feel a strife between doing as the scholar does and doing as other people
do;) they are not me, I say; I HAVE them--and, please God, shall soon
have better. For it is not a pleasant thing for a young man, or a young
woman either, I venture to say, to have an old voice, and a wrinkled
face, and weak knees, and gray hair, or no hair at all. And if any moral
Philistine, as our queer German brothers over the Northern fish-pond
would call him, say that this is all rubbish, for that we ARE old, I would
answer: "Of all children how can the children of God be old?"

3

So little do I give in to calling this outside of me, ME, that I
should not mind presenting a minute description of my own person such
as would at once clear me from any suspicion of vanity in so introducing
myself. Not that my honesty would result in the least from indifference
to the external--but from comparative indifference to the transitional;
not to the transitional in itself, which is of eternal significance and result,
but to the particular form of imperfection which it may have reached at
any individual moment of its infinite progression towards the complete.
For no sooner have I spoken the word NOW, than that NOW is dead and
another is dying; nay, in such a regard, there is no NOW--only a past of
which we know a little, and a future of which we know far less and far
more. But I will not speak at all of this body of my earthly tabernacle,
for it is on the whole more pleasant to forget all about it. And besides, I
do not want to set any of my readers to whom I would have the pleasure
of speaking far more openly and cordially than if they were seated on
the other side of my writing-table--I do not want to set them wondering
whether the vicar be this vicar or that vicar; or indeed to run the risk of
giving the offence I might give, if I were anything else than "a
wandering voice."
I did not feel as I feel now when first I came to this parish. For,
as I have said, I am now getting old very fast. True, I was thirty when I
was made a vicar, an age at which a man might be expected to be
beginning to grow wise; but even then I had much yet to learn.
I well remember the first evening on which I wandered out from
the vicarage to take a look about me--to find out, in short, where I was,
and what aspect the sky and earth here presented. Strangely enough, I
had never been here before; for the presentation had been made me
while I was abroad.--I was depressed. It was depressing weather. Grave
doubts as to whether I was in my place in the church, would keep rising
and floating about, like rain-clouds within me. Not that I doubted about
the church; I only doubted about myself. "Were my motives pure?"
"What were my motives?" And, to tell the truth, I did not know what my
motives were, and therefore I could not answer about the purity of
them. Perhaps seeing we are in this world in order to become pure, it
would be expecting too much of any young man that he should be
absolutely certain that he was pure in anything. But the question
followed very naturally: "Had I then any right to be in the Church--to be
eating her bread and drinking her wine without knowing whether I was
fit to do her work?" To which the only answer I could find was, "The
Church is part of God's world. He makes men to work; and work of some
sort must be done by every honest man. Somehow or other, I hardly
know how, I find myself in the Church. I do not know that I am fitter for
any other work. I see no other work to do. There is work here which I
can do after some fashion. With God's help I will try to do it well."

4

This resolution brought me some relief, but still I was depressed.
It was depressing weather.--I may as well say that I was not married
then, and that I firmly believed I never should be married--not from any
ambition taking the form of self-denial; nor yet from any notion that God
takes pleasure in being a hard master; but there was a lady--Well, I
WILL be honest, as I would be.--I had been refused a few months
before, which I think was the best thing ever happened to me except
one. That one, of course, was when I was accepted. But this is not much
to the purpose now. Only it was depressing weather.
For is it not depressing when the rain is falling, and the steam of
it is rising? when the river is crawling along muddily, and the horses
stand stock-still in the meadows with their spines in a straight line from
the ears to where they fail utterly in the tails? I should only put on
goloshes now, and think of the days when I despised damp. Ah! it was
mental waterproof that I needed then; for let me despise damp as much
as I would, I could neither keep it out of my mind, nor help suffering the
spiritual rheumatism which it occasioned. Now, the damp never gets
farther than my goloshes and my Macintosh. And for that worst kind of
rheumatism--I never feel it now.
But I had begun to tell you about that first evening.--I had
arrived at the vicarage the night before, and it had rained all day, and
was still raining, though not so much. I took my umbrella and went out.
For as I wanted to do my work well (everything taking far more
the shape of work to me, then, and duty, than it does now--though,
even now, I must confess things have occasionally to be done by the
clergyman because there is no one else to do them, and hardly from
other motive than a sense of duty,--a man not being able to shirk work
because it may happen to be dirty)--I say, as I wanted to do my work
well, or rather, perhaps, because I dreaded drudgery as much as any
poor fellow who comes to the treadmill in consequence--I wanted to
interest myself in it; and therefore I would go and fall in love, first of all,
if I could, with the country round about. And my first step beyond my
own gate was up to the ankles, in mud.

5

Therewith, curiously enough, arose the distracting thought how I
could possibly preach TWO good sermons a Sunday to the same people,
when one of the sermons was in the afternoon instead of the evening, to
which latter I had been accustomed in the large town in which I had
formerly officiated as curate in a proprietary chapel. I, who had
declaimed indignantly against excitement from without, who had been
inclined to exalt the intellect at the expense even of the heart, began to
fear that there must be something in the darkness, and the gas-lights,
and the crowd of faces, to account for a man's being able to preach a
better sermon, and for servant girls preferring to go out in the evening.
Alas! I had now to preach, as I might judge with all probability
beforehand, to a company of rustics, of thought yet slower than of
speech, unaccustomed in fact to THINK at all, and that in the sleepiest,
deadest part of the day, when I could hardly think myself, and when, if
the weather should be at all warm, I could not expect many of them to
be awake. And what good might I look for as the result of my labour?
How could I hope in these men and women to kindle that fire which, in
the old days of the outpouring of the Spirit, made men live with the
sense of the kingdom of heaven about them, and the expectation of
something glorious at hand just outside that invisible door which lay
between the worlds?
I have learned since, that perhaps I overrated the spirituality of
those times, and underrated, not being myself spiritual enough to see all
about me, the spirituality of these times. I think I have learned since,
that the parson of a parish must be content to keep the upper windows
of his mind open to the holy winds and the pure lights of heaven; and
the side windows of tone, of speech, of behaviour open to the earth, to
let forth upon his fellow-men the tenderness and truth which those
upper influences bring forth in any region exposed to their operation.
Believing in his Master, such a servant shall not make haste; shall feel
no feverous desire to behold the work of his hands; shall be content to
be as his Master, who waiteth long for the fruits of His earth.
But surely I am getting older than I thought; for I keep
wandering away from my subject, which is this, my first walk in my new
cure. My excuse is, that I want my reader to understand something of
the state of my mind, and the depression under which I was labouring.
He will perceive that I desired to do some work worth calling by the
name of work, and that I did not see how to get hold of a beginning.

6

was to enjoy all bridges for ever." Before me stood a tall old man with his hat in his hand. that was all. in the third place. from much exposure to the weather. The footsteps stopped behind me. love is not very far off. His features were large and a little coarse. or even the old-world beauty of the little bridge upon which I stood. and began to look about me. they look tame. and to have once enjoyed making a mud bridge. "I am. shone in his gray eyes as well. having followed the road. the sight of them took from me all power of enjoying the water beneath me. leaned my arms on the parapet of the bridge. if they must be pollards. I had not yet learned to honour pollards. I was in a selfish humour if ever I was. took a sharp turn to pass along an old stone bridge that spanned the water with a single fine arch. but the smile that parted his lips when he spoke. though it was still gloomy enough for any amount to follow. but I would not turn to greet him. and lighted up a countenance in which a man might trust. that. A little in front of me. For I am one of those who never get rid of their infantile predilections. and. namely. which spoke of endurance rather than resistance. without hardness. But. they will yet do with bounty. pollards always made me miserable. they look ill-used. I saw a man in a white smock-frock coming along the road beyond. at least that has always been my experience. and through the arch I could see the river stretching away up through the meadows. I had not gone far from my own gate before the rain ceased. When you have once learned to honour anything. Now. sir. although he could evidently set his face as a flint. the green fields around me. their life bursts forth. I heard the man's footsteps coming up the crown of the arch. but I turned my back to the road. His face was of a red brown. I stood at last on the bridge. despite of all that is done to repress and destroy their individuality. There was a certain look of roughness. and what they may not do with grace. I had not learned then to honour them on the ground that they yield not a jot to the adversity of their circumstances. although all sorts of bridges have been from very infancy a delight to me. but be you the new vicar?" I turned instantly and answered. rising quickly. and stood gazing where I saw no visions. and I heard a voice:-- "I beg yer pardon. in the next place. it was upon such a comfortless afternoon. in a white smock-frock. Do you want me?" "I wanted to see yer face. its banks bordered with pollards. saw two long rows of these pollards diminishing till they vanished in both directions. looking up and down the river through the misty air. sir. He smoothed his short gray hair with his curved palm down over his forehead as he stood. the road. they look very ugly. in it. clothed as I have said. The stream on my left was so swollen that I could see its brown in patches through the green of the meadows along its banks. When. at those very poplars. in short. In the first place. 7 . somewhat pointed. they still will be trees. and therefore they made me more miserable than I was already. as I have said. that. if ye'll not take it amiss. I drew down my umbrella. for surely if ever one man ought to greet another.

you be the new vicar." I said. and I looks in his face." "Why." "Yes. pleased with the man's address. "Well. if you happen to be there." "Certainly not. as has happened more than once. and right and wrong in another man. "No." and "It is enough that the servant should be as his master. and he looks in mine. 'This is my parson. then. then. sir. I have then found comfort in these two texts: "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister. on the bridge here." "Well. and there's an end on't.' But o' Sundays he's nobody's parson. Here. if you happen to be there." Neither have I ever been able to see the very great difference between right and wrong in a clergyman. "The sight of a man's face is what everybody has a right to. he's got his work to do. I could not take it as a matter of course that he would be at church. You kindly told me so when I axed you." I answered. and when I have had a twinge of conscience about it. All that I can pretend to have yet discovered comes to this: that what is right in another man is right in a clergyman. as he stood square before me. but. 8 . A man might have better reasons for staying away from church than I had for going. I should like to know why you want to see my face. if you'll not take it amiss. sir. "you'll see my face in church on Sunday. "I wanted to see yer face. sir?" he went on. although some might think it the more dignified way. for all that. I do not mean the opinion. and I'm Old Rogers. you'll see my face on Sunday in church--that is. but you see. sir. "Did you know parson that's gone. the parson is the parson like. but the digression. To assert the dignities of my office seems to me very like exalting myself. Some clergymen separate between themselves and their office to a degree which I cannot understand." I answered." That there was a real idea in the old man's mind was considerably clearer than the logic by which he tried to bring it out." For. and it mun be done. and it was my business. is one more proof of approaching age. looking as modest as fearless. however. sir. and I says to myself. even though I was the parson. and what is wrong in another man is much worse in a clergyman.

sir. 'Land ahead!' or 'Breakers ahead!' and gives directions accordin'. somehow. to speak to my betters before my betters speaks to me. instead o' the water down there. and he looks out. Only I always liked parson better out o' the pulpit. And then when I see him up in the desk the next mornin'." The old man laughed a kindly laugh. that's the same man as sat by your son's bedside last night. and that was the most precious friend I could think of in my present situation and mood. and that's how I come to want to make you look at me. One other occurrence before I went home that evening. and he didn't talk a bit the same. and I aint a bit frightened of a parson. Only I can't always make out what he says. And besides. sir. "Oh. and comes down the riggin'. sir. I dare not promise. and I resolved to try all I could to be the same man in the pulpit that I was out of it. and dealing with things as they show themselves in the world. I'd say to myself. I'm an old salt. I had found a friend already!--that is. and I did not know what to say to him all at once. and welcome to Marshmallows. sir! he wur a good parson. Think o' that. But when he shuts up his spyglass." The pollards did not look half so dreary. and the old bridge had become an interesting old bridge. sir. for this is a new kind of work to me. afore I see you in the church to- morrow mornin'. he resumed-- "You'll be thinking me a queer kind of a man. Some may be inclined to say that I had better have formed the resolution to be the same man out of the pulpit that I was in it. I never did feel right sure o' that same. sir. 9 . and in the pulpit I would be the same man I was out of it--taking facts as they are. sir. And when he spoke to me after sermon. too. He didn't seem to have the same cut. 'Old Rogers. The country altogether was rather nice than otherwise. No. pirates and all. and he gits to the masthead. then I don't know what I should do without the parson. Good evenin' to you.--an old man-o'-war's man. The river began to glimmer a little. Old Rogers!' But. sir. And I'll tell you for why. I love a parson. for this warn't the same man. and I ha' been in all sorts o' company. though. I had learned something from him too. sir. Many's the time he come and sit at my son's bedside--him that's dead and gone. He's got a good telescope. on a Saturday night. But you'll know all about it better than I can tell you. sir. you see. I hope I shall not write another so dull as this. and talks to us like one man to another.--and I've been all round the world. But mayhap you don't know what a parson is to us poor folk that has ne'er a friend more larned than theirselves but the parson. But the one will go quite right with the other. Out of the pulpit I would be the same man I was in it--seeing and feeling the realities of the unseen. sir--for a long hour. So after a short pause. but he had set me thinking. somehow. and I shall close the chapter. I was always of a mind to go into the church again and look up to the pulpit to see if he war really out ov it. in the church-yard. a man to whom I might possibly be of some use. And he sings out.

ruthlessly burned. and purple. for anything I knew of his whereabouts. because poor and bad. upon a rising ground covered with trees. for that the sun never sinks into the grave. out of which came a young woman leading a little boy. its results shall be burned. might have been down for an hour or two. He only disappears. for they were presently beyond my hearing. if not of favour. "God is not the God of the dead. else I will retort that it is just as true of the sun as of a man. and make them see it too? Might he not thus come. But I went on answering him myself all the way home. aspect of the evening." Well. But might he not with his little palette and brush." and it made my heart swell as at a chant from the prophet Isaiah. instead of being just about to sink into the grave. 10 . there it glittered still over the darkening earth. "Because. Life IS a constant sunrise. burst his cloudy bands." "Why?" returned his companion. which. What matter then whether it hung over a stable-roof or a church-tower? I stood up and wandered a little farther--off the bridge. They came after me. to help God to paint this glory of vapour and light inside the minds of His children? Ah! if any man's work is not WITH God. just an aspiration. the wet leaves of the pollards quivered and glanced. and along the road. after long trying. when the time came. I had not gone far before I passed a house. the boy gazing at the red and gold and green of the sunset sky. I was contemplating the pollards with an eye. Did God care to paint the sky of an evening. fresh and clear out of the trouble of the rain. that a few of His children might see it. and that was enough. a symbol of that faith which is "the evidence of things not seen. for that no man sinks into the grave." answered the child. which death cannot interrupt. if it wrought no visible salvation in the earth? But was the child's aspiration in vain? Could I tell him God did not want his help to paint the sky? True. And when the sun had gone below the horizon. in fact. the sun shone out gloriously." What his aunt replied I do not know.--while. or state of my own feelings. and red? and should I think my day's labour lost. and gold. and get just a hope. either from knowledge of the country. As they passed me. then. out of its passing green. and blazed out as if he had just risen from the dead. yet of diminished dismay. Before I left the bridge. "I could help God to paint the sky. What if I found afterwards that it was only on the roof of a stable? It shone. the meadows offered up their perfect green. for all live unto him. but of the living. Do not tell me that my figure is untrue. he could mount no scaffold against the infinite of the glowing west.--the sun. and the fields and the river were dusky once more. show his brothers and sisters what he had seen there. the child said-- "Auntie. and away in the distance. I think I should like to be a painter. glittered a weathercock. any more than the night can swallow up the sun. The whole sweep of the gloomy river answered him in gladness.

and on the seventh evening takes it up for a moment. not leave my name carved upon those behind me.--that in all my work I might be a fellow-worker with God. to brush with gentle hand the earth-stain from the white of one snowdrop-- such be my ambition! So shall I scale the rocks in front. and if I do what I may in earnest. I do not believe that God lets the thread of my affairs go for six days." People talk about special providences. I should fall in with these two--an old man whom I could help. It is well that they can. the one opening an outlet for my labour and my love. "So. To help the growth of a thought that struggles towards the light. The so-called special providences are no exception to the rule--they are common to all men at all moments. but it would be gloriously better if they could believe that the whole matter is one grand providence. I believe in the providences. as I walked home. 11 . Upon such instances men seize and call them providences. and could not fail to see what I called a special providence in this. I was one of such men at the time. I need not mourn if I work no great work on the earth." I said to myself. I shall feel that I have worked with God. and while I was discouraged with regard to the work before me. He is in no haste. But it is a fact that God's care is more evident in some instances of it than in others to the dim and often bewildered vision of humanity. and a child who could help me. "if I can put one touch of a rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman of my cure. and the other reminding me of the highest source of the most humbling comfort. Let God make His sunsets: I will mottle my little fading cloud. that on my first attempt to find where I stood in the scheme of Providence. for my part. but not in the specialty.

but into the tower. I resolved that. whence one ought to look beyond such things as these. Upon this occasion there was no one there but the man to whom I have referred. and a few of the parishioners had chosen to sit in its fore-front. And there were some broken old headstones. which he calls "the receiving of angels descended from above. not to the outside. MY FIRST SUNDAY AT MARSHMALLOWS. Repeatedly my eyes left the page off which I was reading and glanced towards him. The people had dined. and the kindly spade and pickaxe--but I have really nothing to do with these now. whose voice. There was a small loft in the west end of the church. to hold his gardening tools. or more responsive. Never before had I enjoyed so much the petitions of the Church. or the love of the service. in the afternoons at least. as I had feared. among a good many tones that were rough. On the Sunday morning. There were a few ancient carvings in wood lying in it. it was different in the afternoon. a few remaining that were as mellow as ever praiseful heart could wish to praise withal. for being drowsy on the day of rest. These events fell on the Saturday night. though I do not understand music. for I am. very brown in the dusky light that came through a small lancet window. my sermons should be as short as heart could wish. and reedy. and the usual somnolence had followed. Now this little gallery was something larger than was just necessary for the organ and its ministrants. and when I came to a close. certainly a congregation more intent. like hopes that are young prophecies amidst the downward sweep of events. omitting page after page of my manuscript. I have a keen ear for the perfection of the single tone. CHAPTER II . itself dusky with an enduring twilight." like the faces of children borne in the arms of a crowd of anxious mothers." or the reading of the lessons. But. But that afternoon there was at least one man of the congregation who was neither drowsy nor inattentive. or the completeness of the harmony. The space below this gallery was not included in the part of the church used for the service. that is the sexton." And whether from the newness of the parson. had yet. as it were. and possibly of neglect. wooden. So I curtailed my sermon as much as I could. weakened by years of praising. nor could I find in my heart to blame men and women who worked hard all the week. For. And these came in amongst the rest like trusting thoughts amidst "eating cares. in the pulpit. It was claimed by the gardener of the place. opening. a clergyman will hardly find. was rewarded by perceiving an agreeable surprise upon many of the faces round me. which Hooker calls "the sending of angels upward. Not once did I find his eyes turned away from me. I read prayers and preached. in which stood a little organ. But of this organ more by and by. 12 .

It lifted its gablet. the memory of whose occupants no one had cared to preserve. to be sure. with its covered way. And indeed I hardly know yet. more of which buried their dead here than assembled their living. But I would not creep out the back way from among my people. such as I had never hoped to be presented to. for mine was a large parish. was the churchyard wall. to love if they can. for what could I do without my poor brothers and sisters? 13 . will sooner reach their level than poor antiquity. But close by the vestry-door. covered a well formed head with a high narrow forehead. To Mammon alone will they yield a little of their rank--none of it to Christ. I would use the door of the people. gray. So I went along the church. or the rarest refinement of personal worth. (for the main road had once passed on that side. Rising against the screen which separated this mouldy portion of the church from the rest. questioning eyes. stood an old monument of carved wood. and went out by the door in the north side into the middle of the churchyard. and over--in fact upon this apex appeared the face of the man whom I have mentioned. here tangled. without headstone or slab. except that of thick eyebrows that far over-hung keen. without any hair. but the seed of Adam. That way might do very well to come in by. not an everlasting fact.) was shared between the coffins and the carriages. almost matted. poor graves. the dead who had no rank but one. derived from whatever source. and the living who had more money than their neighbours. else the poor would not have lain so near the chancel and the vestry-door. the oldest of them will sooner give to the rich their sons or their daughters to wed. and there were old and rich families in it. although. a fine old place. till its apex was on a level with the book-board on the front of the organ-loft. Him the nature of nobles. that of the dead. let the old gentry disclaim it as they may. The carpenter's son is to them an old myth. but now all bare and worn. from luxuriance of growth. those keen eyes kept looking at me from under their gray eyebrows all the time of the sermon--intelligently without doubt. itself gently flowing away into the dust it commemorated. to have children by. carved to look like a canopy. there was this little billowy lake of grass. mere wealth. Good men must have preceded me here. with a few steps on each side of it. And at the end of the narrow path leading from the door. that the parson might pass at once from the churchyard into his own shrubbery. or acknowledge any equality in their sons or daughters-in-law. and the Lych-gate. than they will yield a jot of their ancestral preeminence. once brilliantly painted in the portions that bore the arms of the family over whose vault it stood. The door on the other side was chiefly used by the few gentry of the neighbourhood. As I have said. not white. Short bushy hair. with here and there a monument. All about and beyond were stones. It was a very remarkable countenance--pale. Let me glorify God that Jesus took not on. For. My vestry door opened upon a little group of graves. but to go out. simple and green. but whether sympathetically or otherwise I could not determine. and very thin.

my little man?" thought I. "close by it. His hat was in his hand. "I shall find out where you live. Beside him stood his old woman. the old man-of-war's man was waiting to have another look at me. for one. and fell in the hollow on the other side." And I. But pleasure sparkled in his eyes. He kept his head turned towards me. His aunt reached him at the same moment. in a portentous bonnet." I said. had not merely lingered." "Down by the mill. as I shook hands with her. sir. He did not say a word. which I did presently. and then put his arms gently round my neck. I ran to pick him up. cannot believe in the brotherhood. beneath whose gay yellow ribbons appeared a dusky old face. The churchyard lay in bright sunshine. out of which looked a pair of keen black eyes. unyielding mass of fingers which met it. however. swallowed up in the brotherhood. and carried him away with a deep blush over all her countenance. "You shall trust me then." 14 . "My old woman would like to shake hands with you. that they need a priesthood. for I shuddered at the idea of the people thinking that I was showing off the CLERGYMAN. It could not close around the hard. not seeing where he was going. sir. but triumphed. "They DO need it." she said. he stumbled over the grave of a child. looking up in my face with mingled confidence and awe. and looking down I saw the little boy who aspired to paint the sky. So I stooped and lifted the child and held him in my arms. I looked at the boy. sir!" she said. I held out my hand gratefully. am sure that the priesthood needs the people much more than the people needs the priesthood. that of loving-kindness. The priesthood passes away. sir. but walked away to join his aunt." he said. to show his respect for the new parson. When I had set him down. At the churchyard-gate. and went out. There's one bed in our garden that always thrives. "I shall be in to see you soon. In his face was great sweetness mingled with great rusticity. All the rain and gloom were gone. But as Dr Arnold said of the Sunday. And the little fellow looked at me one moment longer. I'll be a big brother. "If one could only bring this glory of sun and grass into one's hope for the future!" thought I. "Do you trust me. I passed along the church to the northern door. thank you. as I gave him to her. in the hottest summer. where the best beauty. the brotherhood endures. as if he would gladly take that off too. "Oh. But I won't be a priest to you. who was waiting for him at the gate of the churchyard. as he went. and I could not tell whether he was the child of gentlefolk or of peasants. He did not know how to shake hands. wrinkled like a ship's timbers. by the plash from the mill. so that. with an earnestness which seemed to me disproportionate to the deed." For the priesthood passes away. and he gave a pull to the short hair over his forehead. and left it all to me. It is because men cannot learn simple things. And so we were friends.

it takes you to the mill. "Everybody knows Old Rogers." 15 . When you find the river. you won't go wrong. sir. sir. sir. you find the wheel. "Ask for Old Rogers. and when you find the mill. but you'll be welcome. you haven't far to look for the cottage. and when you find the wheel. But if your reverence minds what my wife says. It's a poor place." said the man.

passant. I could not help preferring that homely relation in which the houses are built up like swallow-nests on to the very walls of the cathedrals themselves. so I would be the NEIGHBOUR only. I could not tell. So after breakfast. Just in the centre. The next day I might expect some visitors. where the river flowed. of which some of the village orchards appeared to form part. MY FIRST MONDAY AT MARSHMALLOWS. I strove to dismiss from my mind every feeling of DOING DUTY. couchant. grouping about an old house of red brick. of considerable size. whether natant." I would simply enjoy the privilege. and all that. But as no servant has a right to force his service. only it looked like something terrible enough for a quite antediluvian heraldry. which had once been a manorial residence. from one point of view. stood a creature of stone. And upon the top of that one of the stone pillars supporting the gate which I could see. until such time as the opportunity of being the servant should show itself. to the arrangement here. partly consisting of those white houses with intersecting parallelograms of black which still abound in some regions of our island. volant. of ministering. But you had only to pass round any one of three visible corners to see stacks of wheat and a farm-yard. but was now subdivided in all modes that analytic ingenuity could devise. poplar-bordered stream was here and there just visible. or rampant. else he would have little chance of being useful to the UPPER CLASSES. CHAPTER III . I had a horror of becoming a moral policeman as much as of "doing church. more open to me in virtue of my office. of PERFORMING MY PART. I did not quite like to have it between me and my village. A little way beyond the farther end of the village appeared an iron gate. while in another direction the houses went straggling away into a wood that looked very like the beginning of a forest. however. From the street the slow-winding. It is a fortunate thing that English society now regards the parson as a gentleman. 16 . The village was as irregular as a village should be. and see some of my poor before my rich came to see me. on as lovely a Monday in the beginning of autumn as ever came to comfort a clergyman in the reaction of his efforts to feed his flock on the Sunday. rose a portion of it which. between the church and the people. and took my way to the village. I walked out. But I wanted to get a good start of them. might seem part of an old town. dividing a lofty stone wall. with what flow there was in it.

took me by the hand. and out came the little boy whom I had already seen twice. "Is it your mother's shop?" "Yes. and I could not tell but I might be going into the shop of a dissenter." he answered. and said-- "Come and see mother. But why should I not go in without an ostensible errand? For this reason: there are dissenters everywhere. I confess. divided into lozenge-shaped panes. and I had no little girl to take home beads to. (and I did not expect many would. but I was not in the least prepared for the kind of woman I did see. I had almost made up my mind to ask if she had a small pocket compass. my eye was caught by the window of a little shop. 17 . some day. nothing would have pleased me better than that all the dissenters should return to their old home in the Church. I wanted the fourth plate in the third volume of Law's "Behmen. that is." I said no more." she was not likely to have that either. To be sure I wanted a copy of Bengel's "Gnomon. Wondering what kind of old woman presided over the treasures in this cave of Aladdin. though. Of course my expectation of seeing an old woman behind the counter had vanished. Now. He came across the road to me. for I had seen such things in little country shops--I am afraid only in France. In the meantime. because I could not think of anything I was in want of--at least that the old woman was likely to have. wondering with myself what relations between me and these houses were hidden in the future. and who was therefore one of my oldest friends in the place. But I hesitated. one of whom each might feel certain that he was ready to serve him or her at any hour when he might be wanted to render a service. I could not help hesitating. my dear?" I asked. Whether they returned or not. however. though--when the door opened. in which strings of beads and elephants of gingerbread formed the chief samples of the goods within. It was a window much broader than it was high. As I passed along the street. to stand towards every one of them in the relation of the parson of the parish." but she was not likely to have that. "In the shop there.) I hoped still. but accompanied him. I could not endure the suspicion of laying myself out to entice them back by canvassing or using any personal influence. I did not care for gingerbread. I thought to make a first of my visits by going in and buying something." "Where.

"Will you give me a quarter of a pound of tobacco?" I said. seemed the expression of a constant and bitter self-command. "I am the new vicar. at first. taken with the look of the eyes and forehead. I have met him twice before. The place was half a shop and half a kitchen." But when I got used to her complexion." She said this in an incisive tone. "To tell the truth. by the chimney-corner. and painting very inartistically. pale cream-colour--except her lips and a spot upon each cheek. quiet." No reply for a moment. marked TOBACCO. what to say next. her large dark eye was burning as if the lamp of life had broken and the oil was blazing. Indeed. A yard or so of counter stretched inwards from the door. sir. which glowed with a deep carmine. almost of terror. Her figure was remarkably graceful." "He is too ready to make advances to strangers." I answered. and. sir?" said the mother. but I do not think that I should have come in to see you just to-day. She might indeed have been LOVELY but for a certain hardness which showed through the beauty. Now this was certainly not beautiful." I said. I assure you he has quite gained my heart. namely. until I have time to explain further--of the most remarkable women I had ever seen.--Here was a strange parishioner for me!--in a country toy-shop. and chiefly expressive of indifference. just as a hint to those who might be intrusively inclined. "Oh. But a jar on a shelf. This might have been the result of ill health. For there was a certain modelling of the cheeks and lips which showed that the teeth within were firmly closed. it occasioned a strange feeling. He is a little darling. almost dreadfully. coldly. notwithstanding. for she reminded one of the spectre woman in the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Then just "Indeed!" and nothing more. her voice soft. But her manner was perfectly. prepared to open box or drawer at command. rescued me from the most pressing portion of the perplexity. 18 . and with a kind of book-propriety of speech. I saw that the form of her features was quite beautiful. for not to mention her complexion. who rose as we entered. though too worn to be beautiful. he shrunk away through a half-open door that revealed a stair behind. But there were indubitable marks of ill health upon her. if it had not been that your little boy there--where is he gone to? He asked me to come in and see his mother. sat the mother. ill-endured. Beyond this. "What can I do for you. but. so little was the red shaded into the surrounding white. "I am not a stranger to him. which indicated physical unrest. low. but I doubted it. I hardly know. too! As soon as the little fellow had brought me in. I could not understand it. She was certainly one--I do not say of the most beautiful. but. She spoke without looking me in the face. and there was a slight expansion of the nostrils. as she stood on the other side of the little counter. You would have said she had been painting. Her face was absolutely white--no. but did not seem either shy or ashamed.

a wood on the side of a rising ground went parallel with the river a long way. and giving to the whole an utterance of love and hope and joy. without any such intermediate and complicate arrangement as brain and nerves and muscles. with the addition of. The river flowed on my right. for there is no measuring of His presence--more evidently present in the commonest things." which was all I could return. which was. and one glorious dragon-fly made a mist about him with his long wings." For nothing was left me but to walk away with my parcel in my pocket. shining on the roots of the willows at the bottom of the stream. where brown and white cows were eating and shining all over the thick deep grass. Beyond the meadow. was on the village side of the river. sir. "Good morning. in which you could see the browner trouts darting to and fro with such a slippery gliding. which. in avalanche. lighting up the black head of the water-rat as he hurried across to the opposite bank. to him who could read it. Those with whom the feeling of religion is only occasional. arranged the scales. glorifying the rich green lake of the grass. Still swollen. I now set out for the mill. Coming to a lane leading down to the river. The water-beetles went spinning about over the surface. "Thank you. the sun hung in the sky. Pondering. And over all. speculating. I had hoped to find him outside. a more certain and full revelation of God than any display of power in thunder. That which is best He gives most plentifully.--and all without one other word than. hence the Spirit to them that ask it. took the money. that the motion seemed the result of will. The little boy did not show himself again. took down the jar. it was so slow. I knew that it was flowing. but I could not have told how I knew. the meek who inherit the earth. 19 . in stormy sea. That is. it was of a clear brown. weighed out the quantity. I followed it. as is reason with Him. pouring down life. have it most when the awful or grand breaks out of the common. I had already learned. through a lovely meadow. and then walked up a path outside the row of pollards. The woman turned. wrapped it up. find the God of the whole earth more evidently present--I do not say more present. Hence the quiet fulness of ordinary nature.

it was going round." This gave a great help to his budding confidence. crossing the stream that flowed back to the river after having done its work on the corn. and waits on one of the young ladies. tied tight at the mouth--they always look to me as if Joseph's silver cup were just inside--stood about. sir. sir. The young man came across the stream at a step. You see they're both hearty. except he went up the rope that hung from the ceiling. A few full sacks. I came in front of the building. and casting its loose drops in the alms-giving of a gentle rain upon a little plot of Master Rogers's garden. indeed. and looked over the half-door into the mill. As yet. Jane isn't at her father's above once or twice a week at most. sir. mossy and green with ancient waterdrops. and the young woman went up the garden towards the cottage. stood a dusty young man. to become some new awful monster of a pollard." I said. "to have an honest experienced old mill like yours. however. The whole place was full of its own faint but pleasant odour. "Well." "She doesn't live with them. The floor was clean and dusty. it was. I soon came within sound of the mill. looking so furred and overgrown and lumpy. and presently. I am just going to see him." 20 . but doing its work. beside the flower bed. He laughed. The spouts went on pouring the slow torrent of flour. Beyond the stream. that can manage to go on of itself for a little while now and then. and with the gravity of age. No man was visible. and was now full and running rapidly. and they ain't over well to do. and found myself in the company of the water- wheel. slowly. and so the wheel was losing by slow degrees the shape of a wheel. that one might have thought the wood of it had taken to growing again in its old days. This plot was divided from the mill-wheel by a small stream which carried away the surplus water. The moment they saw me they parted." And he stole a shy pleased look at me out of the corners of his eyes. "That must be Old Rogers's cottage?" I said to the miller. sir. which was therefore full of moisture-loving flowers. I could not even see how a man could get at the stones that I heard grinding away above. Good morning. So I walked round the corner of the place. She's upper housemaid. In the farther corner. "It's a good thing. talking to a young woman with a rosy face and clear honest eyes. and Jane lives up at the Hall. it's not very often it's left to itself." "So I imagine." he answered. sir. as if everything could go on with perfect propriety of itself. then?" "No. the flour was trickling down out of two wooden spouts into a wooden receptacle below.--Old Rogers has seen a great deal of the world. "Was that his daughter--that nice-looking young woman you were talking to?" "Yes. "Yes. sir. looking a little sheepish.

The fact is. So I took him at his own word. and led the way into her little kitchen. The door was open." his wife broke in. Old Rogers. When the wind blows. As I entered." "I would rather be excused. like a man." "I assure you I want the work done. sir. After harvest there comes slack times for the likes of me. and Dame Rogers came from within to meet me. But it was only to call her father. Jane went out at the back-door. and went up a little gravel-walk. "I'm glad to see ye." I said. sir. The Lord'll take us through somehow. People don't care about a bag of old bones when they can get hold of young men. with a plate in her hand. I jumped across the stream. sir. "I am sorry you are out of work. and the sounds of the softly-labouring mill-wheel ever in its little porch and about its windows. well. "But my garden is sadly out of order. old woman. I won't tell a story about it. the ship goes. You don't dislike gardening. the ship stops. my back's bad now--no. sir. She welcomed me. t'other end of the village. I'll do it for 'ee.--"only plain digging and hoeing." "I am afraid I made you think"-- "I thought nothing. and I must employ some one else if you don't undertake it. I could not conjecture. This pleasure comes of having no work to-day. never mind. unaware of anything poetic in what he said. scratching his gray head with a troubled scratch. but the sea is His all the same. There was more in this than met the ear. sir. Well." "Well." she went on." "Now. "the fact is. which led me in a few yards to the cottage-door." I said. do you?" "Well. I beant a right good hand at garden-work. I would press the point a little. but what. turning to me. downright? If ye won't. when the wind drops. I would just rather not. To him it was just common sense. that he'll turn the bread away from his own mouth and let it fall in the dirt. It was a sweet place to live in. and I must have something done to it. and the wind is His all the same too. for He made it. why won't 'ee tell the parson the truth." answered the old man. that the old parson's man for that kind o' work was Simmons. "now. who presently came in. which she was wiping. sir." 21 . with some embarrassment. sir. and my man is so afeard o' hurtin' e'er another. "I won't ask you to do any of the more ornamental part. with honeysuckle growing over the house. and common sense only. I thank you kindly." He spoke in the most matter-of-fact tone. sir.

As I reached the door. I seldom think about how I ought to talk to anybody I am with. I had not bought it for myself. lighting his pipe. but revealed nothing. That I didn't smoke myself was no reason why I should not help Old Rogers to smoke. "You don't think there's any harm in smoking a pipe." said the old man. sir?" "Not the least. sir. So I pulled out the tobacco. Rogers?" I said. The daughter stood looking from one to the other with attentive face." "'Cause as how. which took everything. His wife. who will sit down by the fire. sir. don't you. "Simmons wants it more than I do. I know directly what I've got to do. I rose to go. I never was good at knowin' right from wrong like. And she don't like my obstinate fits. I'm not so bad as that. though I have occasionally envied one of my brethren in London. anyhow. 'Now. instead." I answered. "Well. I daren't sir. "You smoke. sir. he wouldn't be ready to hear what you had to tell him. sir. 'cause as how I don't want it now. Old Rogers. well. mayhap. It's not much I spend on baccay. Rogers. and. is hale and hearty." he went on. with emphasis. And I never could hit his way of talking to his parishioners either. sir. Simmons shall have the job. He's got a sick wife. "Now. what do you think the Lord would best like you to do?' And as soon as I ax myself that. dame? "No." interrupted his wife. at tellin' exactly what I ought to do. And that I would take worst of all. I never was good. once I axed myself that. now. thank God. He could put them at their ease in a moment. I just says to myself. but I give that up quite." "Stick to that. Nor do I conceive that smoking is essential to a clergyman in the country. sir. but she was none the less cordial to me. who could not see the thing quite from her husband's point of view. I never could smoke. But. not giving me time to prove how far I was from thinking there was any harm in it. old 'oman. Rogers. And there is another thing besides. that it bean't. "You see. lose a deal o' comfort. at the same time please his host and subdue the bad smells of the place. and then my old woman can't turn me no more than a bull." he went on. "Besides. and might. was too honest to say anything." "Thank ye. that is. don't 'ee belie me. You see. and think it was turning away an old servant like." I said. sir. "You see. I used to take my pan o' grog with the rest of them. sailors learns many ways they might be better without. Is it." "Well. You wicked old man to tell stories!" 22 . sir. I think he must have got the trick out of his pipe. you see. But in reality. I remembered the tobacco in my pocket. "you spend the money on tea for me. So when anything comes up. and my old woman." answered his wife. sir: he might take it hard of you. sir. I can't deny it. and then.

have yer baccay. to tell the truth. ye see. sir. that IS good o' you. Not as he said anything. But. "here is some that I bought for you as I came along. that'll last you a month!" exclaimed his wife. I thought He would say. "And this is the man. sir. as I could tell by the turn of his hawse-holes when he came in at the door and me a-smokin'." "That's not exactly what I mean. I was an old man. and yet ye bring baccay to me! Well. He did give him a thunderin' broadside. Rogers. and I'm sure it's a deal better for me. You didn't think I was beggin' for it.'" Something in this--I could not at the time have told what-- touched me more than I can express. "And ye don't smoke yourself. and I daresay that kep him quiet. it's just like yer Master. not knowing whether I ought to have it or not. the wisest learn most. it is not always a body feels he has a right to spend his ha'pence on baccay. "Well. I hope you will find it good. the parson that's gone didn't more than half like it. sir. old woman. 'Old Rogers. "Six weeks at least. No doubt it was the simple reality of the relation in which the old man stood to his Father in heaven that made me feel as if the tears would come in spite of me. I mean that I said to myself. he 'aint got none to spend. and sometimes. 23 ." he answered. One mustn't mind too much what other people think." "What do you mean then? I should like to know." "In the meantime. sir!" "Why. I followed my own old chart. wife. who'd ha' thought it." "Well. the old man resumed-- "For you see. Rogers?" "Why." The old sailor's eyes glistened with gratitude. "Well. to be sure! So I was in two minds whether I ought to go on with my pipe or not. looking nearly as pleased as himself." I said. only mind ye don't grumble when you 'aint got none. I takes my share of the tea. for. "whom I thought I should be able to teach! Well. sir. I was a little troubled in my mind about the baccay. I am no judge. sir." As I said nothing." "Well. sir." "Quite right. resolved that Old Rogers should have no chance of "grumbling" for want of tobacco. But I did hear him blow up a young chap i' the village he come upon promiscus with a pipe in his mouth. if I could help it. too. sir." "And how did you settle the question. surely?" "You see I had it for you in my pocket. 'Now. what do you think the Lord would say about this here baccay business?"' "And what did you think He would say?" "Why. For you see. sir." I went away. sir. and I may be useful to him after all. Old Rogers." I said to myself.

as one having a right to know. How one can think of himself as above his neighbours. till now it seems at times as if the only cure in the world for social pride would be to go for five silent minutes into a carpenter's shop. It led up to one side of the large house of which I have already spoken. was not to be easily gained. my feeling about such a workshop grew stronger and stronger. which sensation. ever since having been admitted on the usual conditions to a Mohammedan mosque.--Turning a corner. I should no doubt have chosen him. But I had not to choose between them. I smelt what has been to me always a delightful smell--that of fresh deals under the hands of the carpenter. CHAPTER IV . and if I had had to choose between them. 24 . if she had one. urges me to pull off. From herself it was evident that her secret. Only as I am growing old now. And the feeling has grown upon me. As I went again through the village. and after I began to read the history of our Lord with something of that sense of reality with which we read other histories. I am sorry to think. I heard the sound of a saw. sound. and therefore belonged to me in peculiar right of my office. And when I reached the door. As I came near. In the scent of those boards of pine is enclosed all the idea the tree could gather of the world of forest where it was reared. that I might see whether I could not help her. or smell of one. it would draw me to it across many fields. while the readiest way in which I could justify to myself the possession of that office was to make it a shepherding of the sheep. so much of the well-meant instruction we receive in our youth tends to destroy. and I thought a great deal more about the one I could not understand than the one I could understand. I observed a narrow lane striking off to the left. I had only to think about them. for I daresay my time will not be very long. and one ought not to get out of sympathy with the wrong. It speaks of many wild and bright but chiefly clean and rather cold things. without a spiritual sensation such as I have in entering an old church. my thoughts were still occupied with the woman I had seen in the little shop. If I were idling. whereas the other was evidently a soul in pain. And this sound drew me yet more. sawing a board for a coffin-lid. till at last I never could go near enough to see the shavings lying on the floor of one. For a carpenter's shop was the delight of my boyhood. On the way back. not only my hat. The old man-of-war's man was probably the nobler being of the two. within sight. but my shoes likewise. THE COFFIN. and resolved to explore in that direction. So I resolved to find out what I could about her. For Old Rogers wanted little help from me. I fear I am getting almost unable to imagine. and which. but even the common reports of the village would be some enlightenment to the darkness I was in about her. So I drew near to the shop. feeling as if the Lord might be at work there at one of the benches. it does not matter so much. there was my pale-faced hearer of the Sunday afternoon.

He looked at the coffin and then looked at me." said I. The man seemed taken aback. I looked therefore for something to say. after all. as Old Rogers might have said. As my shadow fell across and darkened his work. "Ah! your work is not always a pleasant one. as you do to the funeral service. So the smile seemed tightened. he lifted his head and saw me. "But it does not matter. of which claim he doubts whether you know the existence. and looking at the coffin. when I came upon you quite unexpectedly. for my part. "that the work was unpleasant--only sad. making some acquaintance with it." I said. but who has a claim upon you--say." he added. I could not altogether understand the expression of his countenance as he stood upright from his labour and touched his old hat with rather a proud than a courteous gesture. and was about to become hearty and begin to shine. "but. "May I come in?" I said. He smiled as if he did not quite believe in the accident. there are unpleasant things in all trades." he answered. I hastened to add-- "I was wandering about the place. to tell the truth. "I am glad I have happened to come upon you by accident. sir. there was a smile on his lips. sir." I said. this world." "I know you saw me. that sought to make me welcome." he answered. but the smile of a man who cherishes a secret grudge. although he laid down his saw and advanced to the door. "Well. with an increase of bitterness in his smile. of one who does not altogether dislike you. I don't see why it should be considered so unhappy for a man to be buried. hardly caring whether I saw through the ceremony or not. It must always be painful to make a coffin. or from a sense of being in general superior to all that sort of thing. But I felt that it would be of no good to pursue the inquiry directly. and with my friends in it. And I could not believe that he was glad to see me. sir. This isn't such a good job. sir." I did not quite know whether to take this as proceeding from an honest fear of being misunderstood. you must allow. with a motion as if to return to his work. associating the feelings of which I have already spoken with the facts before me. "Come in. It was the gentleman in him. for an apology. I don't go to church very often. "I didn't mean. 25 ." I said. and stopped just when it got half-way to its width. as if by a sudden inspiration. You know I saw you in church on Sunday afternoon." "Neither is that coffin." "A joiner gets used to it. and considered it a part of the play between us that I should pretend it. not the man." he answered. True. But. the lower part of which stood nearly finished upon trestles on the floor.

"I don't see anything amiss with the coffin. "Of course it seems to me better that you should not believe God had done a thing. to finish anything he ever meant to finish. I. whereas I only said of it knowingly what you said of the world thoughtlessly. however. sir. "that's just what I meant. won't you?" "That I will. "That's supposing." I said. that it would be to me torturing despair to believe that God did not make the world. I say--as we're not quite good ourselves." "Thank you. "whoever made it has taken long enough about it. Hereupon I found that we had changed places a little. you must allow. so plainly wrong!" "So much so. "Ah! it's your trade to talk that way. would be able to doubt without any room whatever." "I am very glad to hear you say so. it's just possible that things may be too good for us to do them the justice of believing in them. for my part. both in the world and in myself. I am half of a mind that the Lord didn't make it at all. for I do not think an honest man. as much as to say. after a short pause. which no doubt seemed longer both to him and to me than it would have seemed to any third person." he said." "At any rate. and a thousand years as one day. "What can he mean?" or both at once. The smile of superiority was no longer there. which might indicate either "Who would have expected that from you?" or." he said." "Well. Then you will allow there is some room for doubting whether He made the world at all?" "Yes. knew that on the scale of the man's judgment I had risen nearer to his own level. and a puzzled questioning. than that you should believe He had not done it well!" "Ah! I see. How do you know that the world is finished anymore than your coffin? And how dare you then say that it is a bad job?" The same respectfully scornful smile passed over his face. sir. as you seem to me to be. "that the Lord did make the world." "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years. sir. it's not finished yet. sir. "Well. You thought I was hasty in my judgment of your coffin." I answered." he answered." "But there are things. God knows. had taken its place. so I must not be too hard upon you. But it is just possible. That would be only for a fool. a person would think. as the gravedigger says to Hamlet. As he said nothing. sir. how would it ever be put right? Therefore I prefer the theory that He has not done making it yet. for then. He looked up at me." 26 . I proceeded at once. and I was in danger of being misunderstood." I said. but you see. For my part. as we are not perfectly good ourselves--you'll allow that. because I don't know so much about doomsday as some people pretend to. I don't say it'll last till doomsday.

the defeat of the intellect is not the object in fighting with the sword of the Spirit. that God might have managed it without so many slips in the making as your way would suppose? I should think myself a bad workman if I worked after that fashion. regular as she was." "Then he's the worse for losing her?" 27 . And I find that it explains everything that comes near it. and so find that it works well. you will allow." "Yes. to try it upon life--to order my way by it. but sure enough. he is sure of just one ally. But to have a brute of a husband coming home at any hour of the night or morning. You do not know what end He has in view. In this case. drunk upon the money she had earned by hard work. It humiliates me. when it's endurable at all. Indeed I cannot bear it. the same that Faust had in fighting Gretchen's brother--that is." "Ah! maybe. therefore. sir. then? Life's a good thing in the main. When a man reasons for victory and not for the truth in the other soul." He made no reply. you must leave him room. I can't say I'm sorry. that she's out of his way at last. "May I ask for whom you are making that coffin?" "For a sister of my own. nor anybody else. but are you sure you know what God is making of the world?" "That I can't tell." "I do not believe that there are any slips. either in the design or in the workmanship." "Why are you not sorry. nor with any proof whatever except seeing how it will go. when I thought the fowls of the air had devoured them up. the Devil. You know that no engineer would be satisfied with his engine on paper." "Then you can't say that what looks like a slip is really a slip. sir. of course. for." "I'm sorry to hear that. I have been surprised sometimes to see my own arguments come up fresh and green." "There's no occasion. as I said. And if you want him to think about anything. for all that. Let him have a hand in the convincing of himself." "How do you know he's glad of it?" "He's been drunk every night since she died. It is a principle of mine never to push anything over the edge. You know you are making a coffin." "Perhaps not. and you may find some day that those slips were just the straight road to that very end. in any argument. When I am successful. "But wouldn't you say. though she was one of the best women I ever knew. was enough to take more of the shine out of things than church-going on Sundays could put in again. my one dread is of humiliating my opponent. poor woman! I'm as glad as her brute of a husband. but the acceptance of the heart. But God and good men are against him. you see. and not give him such associations with the question that the very idea of it will be painful and irritating to him. But you can't be sure of it. So I never follow up a victory of that kind. I drew back. in the way you mean.

"You can see it wasn't a workshop always. partly because thus I had again given him occasion to feel that he knew better than I did. Crying like a hypocrite. A hypocrite is a terrible name to give. had been washed all over with white." The old smile returned--as much as to say. I presume. right in upon the cart-wheels. added to the grotesque look of the whole assemblage of contrasts. the whole reminded me of Albert Durer's "Melencholia. glowing thus in the chimney under the sombre chimney-piece. in which. looking round the workshop. which. The only claim that I could ever lay to anything was that I was very much in want of it. my son is the last male"-- Here he stopped suddenly. of which many of the panes were broken. Perhaps her death will do him good. sir. too. not even a coffin. "It represents the four quarters of the world. which was not good either for him or for me in our relation to each other. A hypocrite. "the owners of the place little thought it would come to this--the deals growing into a coffin there on the spot where the grand dinner was laid for them and their guests! But there is another thing about it that is odder still. with various besides of Nature's bizarre productions creeping and flying in stone-carving over the huge fire-place." Seeing I was interested in looking about his shop. The room was still wainscotted in panels. stood several new and therefore brilliantly red cart-wheels. "Yes." I said. perhaps not. one on a crawling crocodile. for the sake of the more light required for handicraft. "He may well be. The sun shone through the upper part of a high window. The coffin and the carpenter stood in the twilight occasioned by the sharp division of light made by a lofty wing of the house that rose flanking the other window. going nearer. over his own work!" "A fool he must be. and his face grew very red. As suddenly he resumed-- 28 . sir. one on a kneeling camel. Many a grand dinner-party has sat down in this room when it was in its glory. you see. and others differently mounted. my new friend--for I could not help feeling that we should be friends before all was over. I would have made this coffin for him with a world of pleasure." I saw strange figures of men and women." "I never found that I deserved anything. "That's your little game in the church. At the level of labour they were broken in many places." But I resolved to try nothing more with him at present. Look at the chimney-piece there. in place of a fire." "I have been looking at it. which. Somehow or other. "This has been a fine old room once." I said. and indeed was sorry that I had started the new question at all. He had never taken up the dropped thread of it before." he said." "He doesn't deserve to be done any good to. and so began to count him one already--resumed the conversation.

If I could get his feelings right in regard to other and more important things. lest I should just happen to ask him the wrong one. sir. After a pause. My father says they were plain enough in his young days. then?" "That he is. if I would do him any good. And it will not do any man good to fling even the Bible in his face." Here followed another pause. "And you yourself belong to the old family that once lived in this old house?" "It would be no boast to tell the truth. "I'm not a gentleman. "I expect visitors myself. The explanation would come in time.--"I think I see the remains of paintings on the ceiling. sir."--and here the old smile--"I don't think I got that from THEIR side of the house. I had pleasant associations--though I could not in the least determine who that one might be. planing away at half the lid of his sister's coffin. "It is very kind and friendly of you." 29 . Nay. Will you go up stairs and see him? He's past ninety." I said. Curse it!--I beg your pardon. I stood in a waiting attitude. too. sir. He has plenty of stories to tell about the old place--before it began to fall to pieces like. sir. therefore. Good morning. and partly to secure an excuse for calling again upon the carpenter sooner than I should otherwise have liked to do. That family has been nothing but a curse to ours. And I could not help thinking that the closed mouth meant to utter nothing more on this occasion. You cannot expect people to accept before they have had a chance of seeing what the offered gift really is. still careful to make no advances. which would be more evidently a good to most men. partly because I wanted to be at home to receive any one who might call. sir. sir. But the man was again silent. and hearty too. the carpenter had once more to recommence. and it is time I were at home. would carry insult with it if presented in that manner. "I am sure there must be many a story to tell about this old place. Nor would I ask him any questions. a roll of bank-notes." "I won't go to-day." I noted that he spoke of that family as different from his. but I will tell the truth. I knew better than to take any notice of a mere expression of excitement under a sense of some injury with which I was not yet acquainted." he resumed. and yet implied that he belonged to it. I was reminded of some one else whom I knew--with whom. for this parishioner of mine evidently wanted careful handling.--My son's NOT the last male descendant. looking round the room once more. which it is not. whereas to make a mountain of a molehill would be to put that very mountain between him and me. As to the imprecation." I said. And while I looked at him. if only there were any one to tell them. even if it were a credit to me. a reform in that matter would soon follow. or let the conversation lie." "Is your father alive. though he seldom goes out of doors now." "You are sharp-eyed. "It's very foolish of me to talk so to a stranger." I said at last.

and that was much in his favour. The house and family had declined together--in outward appearance at least.notwithstanding that unpleasant smile of his. "Good morning. to think of that man working away at a trade in the very house in which such ancestors had eaten and drunk. if anything. just in virtue of his doubting. better than an infidel. sir. and married and given in marriage. for it was quite possible both might have risen in the moral and spiritual scale in proportion as they sank in the social one. And I couid see that he was a thinking man. he shall end in certainties. and partly piqued me into the determination to get the better of the man. the state of his mind woke no feeling of perplexity in me. for that such a man must have a history of his own was rendered only the more probable from the fact that he knew something of the history of his forefathers. there are some men who seem to have no other. here was another strange parishioner. though. and of all writers of English I delight in him: "So it is in contemplation: if a man will begin with certainties. seeing that the man was little. I was certain of understanding it thoroughly when I had learned something of his history. he shall end in doubts. but if he will be content to begin with doubts. And who could it be that he was like? 30 ." And away home I went with a new wonder in my brain. It was strange. if I possibly could." Now I could not tell the kind or character of this man's doubt. because he was honest-. but it was evidently real and not affected doubt. just one of the sort I thought I should get on with in time. The man did not seem unknown to me. A man may be on the way to the truth. which did irritate me a little. I mean. At all events. I will tell you what Lord Bacon says. however. And if any of my readers are at first inclined to think that this could hardly be. indeed. I would just like to hold one minute's conversation with them on that subject. by making friends with him.

I took their card from the housekeeper's hand. who took a hearty hold of it. "Grannie has bad headaches sometimes. It was an old-fashioned carriage. CHAPTER V . you might find out the people who called on me in their carriage with the ancient white horses. which I interpreted into an assertion of dignity. She had pulled off her glove to get a card out of her card-case. I found a carriage standing before it. VISITORS FROM THE HALL. And my reason for making the difference will be plain enough. or might have forgotten her after not passing her over. and an expansion of deadness on her face. You can never find out my friend Old Rogers. as she turned with half a smile to her grandchild. Walton. It is very kind of you to call so soon. "Except when you have a headache. Sympathy is one of the first demands he ought to be able to meet--I know what a headache is. I saw that it was open. Walton!" said the old lady. But my attention could not rest long on the horses. Oldcastle. and then at me." I said. There were two ladies in the carriage. that these are not really the names I read on the card. Pet. "A clergyman ought to know something. upon the palm of my hand. resulting from the implied possibility that I might have passed her over in my congregation. I said to the old lady-- "I remember seeing you in church on Sunday morning. a girl apparently about fourteen." The deadness melted a little from Mrs Oldcastle's face. and the more the better. "Ah." said Miss Gladwyn. When they were seated in the drawing-room. Mrs Oldcastle and Miss Gladwyn. as if polished with feeling what things were like." The former expression. with a clear hardness in its tone. I then offered my hand to her companion. and a footman ringing the bell. Mrs. in a serene voice. or rather non-expression. grannie. with two white horses in it. and so put the tips of two old fingers. But you know that cannot be an interesting fact to Mr. of the troubles of his flock." "I beg your pardon. this time unaccompanied by a bow. worn very smooth. one old and one young. But the names of the persons of humble position in my story are their real names. I made these up this minute. and read. and I held out my hand to aid her descent. and when I came in sight of my own door. and jumped down beside her with a smile. here is Mr. with a stiff bow. they were so fat and knuckle-kneed. I confess here to my reader. When I came near my own gate." "You will always see me in church. returned. They looked as if no coachman could get more than three miles an hour out of them. with an arch look first at her grandmother. and said-- "Yes. and I reached the door just as my housekeeper was pronouncing me absent. yet whiter by age than by nature." she returned. 31 . As I followed them into the house.

"I trust, Mr. Walton, I TRUST I am above any morbid necessity
for sympathy. But, as you say, amongst the poor of your flock,--it IS
very desirable that a clergyman should be able to sympathise."
"It's quite true what grannie says, Mr. Walton, though you
mightn't think it. When she has a headache, she shuts herself up in her
own room, and doesn't even let me come near her--nobody but Sarah;
and how she can prefer her to me, I'm sure I don't know."
And here the girl pretended to pout, but with a sparkle in her
bright gray eye.
"The subject is not interesting to me, Pet. Pray, Mr. Walton, is it
a point of conscience with you to wear the surplice when you preach?"
"Not in the least," I answered. "I think I like it rather better on
the whole. But that's not why I wear it."
"Never mind grannie, Mr. Walton. I think the surplice is lovely.
I'm sure it's much liker the way we shall be dressed in heaven, though I
don't think I shall ever get there, if I must read the good books grannie
reads."
"I don't know that it is necessary to read any good books but the
good book," I said.
"There, grannie!" exclaimed Miss Gladwyn, triumphantly. "I'm so
glad I've got Mr Walton on my side!"
"Mr Walton is not so old as I am, my dear, and has much to
learn yet."
I could not help feeling a little annoyed, (which was very foolish,
I know,) and saying to myself, "If it's to make me like you, I had rather
not learn any more;" but I said nothing aloud, of course.
"Have you got a headache to-day, grannie?"
"No, Pet. Be quiet. I wish to ask Mr Walton WHY he wears the
surplice."
"Simply," I replied, "because I was told the people had been
accustomed to it under my predecessor."
"But that can be no good reason for doing what is not right--that
people have been accustomed to it."
"But I don't allow that it's not right. I think it is a matter of no
consequence whatever. If I find that the people don't like it, I will give it
up with pleasure."
"You ought to have principles of your own, Mr Walton."
"I hope I have. And one of them is, not to make mountains of
molehills; for a molehill is not a mountain. A man ought to have too
much to do in obeying his conscience and keeping his soul's garments
clean, to mind whether he wears black or white when telling his flock
that God loves them, and that they will never be happy till they believe
it."
"They may believe that too soon."
"I don't think any one can believe the truth too soon."

32

A pause followed, during which it became evident to me that
Miss Gladwyn saw fun in the whole affair, and was enjoying it
thoroughly. Mrs Oldcastle's face, on the contrary, was illegible. She
resumed in a measured still voice, which she meant to be meek, I
daresay, but which was really authoritative--
"I am sorry, Mr Walton, that your principles are so loose and
unsettled. You will see my honesty in saying so when you find that,
objecting to the surplice, as I do, on Protestant grounds, I yet warn you
against making any change because you may discover that your
parishioners are against it. You have no idea, Mr Walton, what inroads
Radicalism, as they call it, has been making in this neighbourhood. It is
quite dreadful. Everybody, down to the poorest, claiming a right to think
for himself, and set his betters right! There's one worse than any of the
rest--but he's no better than an atheist--a carpenter of the name of
Weir, always talking to his neighbours against the proprietors and the
magistrates, and the clergy too, Mr Walton, and the game-laws; and
what not? And if you once show them that you are afraid of them by
going a step out of your way for THEIR opinion about anything, there
will be no end to it; for, the beginning of strife is like the letting out of
water, as you know. I should know nothing about it, but that, my
daughter's maid--I came to hear of it through her--a decent girl of the
name of Rogers, and born of decent parents, but unfortunately attached
to the son of one of your churchwardens, who has put him into that mill
on the river you can almost see from here."
"Who put him in the mill?"
"His own father, to whom it belongs."
"Well, it seems to me a very good match for her."
"Yes, indeed, and for him too. But his foolish father thinks the
match below him, as if there was any difference between the positions of
people in that rank of life! Every one seems striving to tread on the
heels of every one else, instead of being content with the station to
which God has called them. I am content with mine. I had nothing to do
with putting myself there. Why should they not be content with theirs?
They need to be taught Christian humility and respect for their
superiors. That's the virtue most wanted at present. The poor have to
look up to the rich"--
"That's right, grannie! And the rich have to look down on the
poor."
"No, my dear. I did not say that. The rich have to be KIND to the
poor."
"But, grannie, why did you marry Mr Oldcastle?"
"What does the child mean?"
"Uncle Stoddart says you refused ever so many offers when you
were a girl."
"Uncle Stoddart has no business to be talking about such things
to a chit like you," returned the grandmother. smiling, however, at the
charge, which so far certainly contained no reproach.

33

"And grandpapa was the ugliest and the richest of them all--
wasn't he, grannie? and Colonel Markham the handsomest and the
poorest?"
A flush of anger crimsoned the old lady's pale face. It looked
dead no longer.
"Hold your tongue," she said. "You are rude."
And Miss Gladwyn did hold her tongue, but nothing else, for she
was laughing all over.
The relation between these two was evidently a very odd one. It
was clear that Miss Gladwyn was a spoiled child, though I could not help
thinking her very nicely spoiled, as far as I saw; and that the old lady
persisted in regarding her as a cub, although her claws had grown quite
long enough to be dangerous. Certainly, if things went on thus, it was
pretty clear which of them would soon have the upper hand, for grannie
was vulnerable, and Pet was not.
It really began to look as if there were none but characters in
my parish. I began to think it must be the strangest parish in England,
and to wonder that I had never heard of it before. "Surely it must be in
some story-book at least!" I said to myself.
But her grand-daughter's tiger-cat-play drove the old lady
nearer to me. She rose and held out her hand, saying, with some
kindness--
"Take my advice, my dear Mr Walton, and don't make too much
of your poor, or they'll soon be too much for you to manage.--Come,
Pet: it's time to go home to lunch.--And for the surplice, take your own
way and wear it. I shan't say anything more about it."
"I will do what I can see to be right in the matter," I answered
as gently as I could; for I did not want to quarrel with her, although I
thought her both presumptuous and rude.
"I'm on your side, Mr Walton," said the girl, with a sweet comical
smile, as she squeezed my hand once more.
I led them to the carriage, and it was with a feeling of relief that
I saw it drive off.
The old lady certainly was not pleasant. She had a white smooth
face over which the skin was drawn tight, gray hair, and rather lurid
hazel eyes. I felt a repugnance to her that was hardly to be accounted
for by her arrogance to me, or by her superciliousness to the poor;
although either would have accounted for much of it. For I confess that I
have not yet learned to bear presumption and rudeness with all the
patience and forgiveness with which I ought by this time to be able to
meet them. And as to the poor, I am afraid I was always in some danger
of being a partizan of theirs against the rich; and that a clergyman ought
never to be. And indeed the poor rich have more need of the care of the
clergyman than the others, seeing it is hardly that the rich shall enter
into the kingdom of heaven, and the poor have all the advantage over
them in that respect.

34

"Still," I said to myself, "there must be some good in the
woman--she cannot be altogether so hard as she looks, else how should
that child dare to take the liberties of a kitten with her? She doesn't look
to ME like one to make game of! However, I shall know a little more
about her when I return her call, and I will do my best to keep on good
terms with her."
I took down a volume of Plato to comfort me after the irritation
which my nerves had undergone, and sat down in an easy-chair beside
the open window of my study. And with Plato in my hand, and all that
outside my window, I began to feel as if, after all, a man might be
happy, even if a lady had refused him. And there I sat, without opening
my favourite vellum-bound volume, gazing out on the happy world,
whence a gentle wind came in, as if to bid me welcome with a kiss to all
it had to give me. And then I thought of the wind that bloweth where it
listeth, which is everywhere, and I quite forgot to open my Plato, and
thanked God for the Life of life, whose story and whose words are in that
best of books, and who explains everything to us, and makes us love
Socrates and David and all good men ten times more; and who follows
no law but the law of love, and no fashion but the will of God; for where
did ever one read words less like moralising and more like simple
earnestness of truth than all those of Jesus? And I prayed my God that
He would make me able to speak good common heavenly sense to my
people, and forgive me for feeling so cross and proud towards the
unhappy old lady--for I was sure she was not happy--and make me into
a rock which swallowed up the waves of wrong in its great caverns, and
never threw them back to swell the commotion of the angry sea whence
they came. Ah, what it would be actually to annihilate wrong in this
way!--to be able to say, it shall not be wrong against me, so utterly do I
forgive it! How much sooner, then, would the wrong-doer repent, and
get rid of the wrong from his side also! But the painful fact will show
itself, not less curious than painful, that it is more difficult to forgive
small wrongs than great ones. Perhaps, however, the forgiveness of the
great wrongs is not so true as it seems. For do we not think it is a fine
thing to forgive such wrongs, and so do it rather for our own sakes than
for the sake of the wrongdoer? It is dreadful not to be good, and to have
bad ways inside one.
Such thoughts passed through my mind. And once more the
great light went up on me with regard to my office, namely, that just
because I was parson to the parish, I must not be THE PERSON to
myself. And I prayed God to keep me from feeling STUNG and proud,
however any one might behave to me; for all my value lay in being a
sacrifice to Him and the people.

35

So when Mrs Pearson knocked at the door, and told me that a
lady and gentleman had called, I shut my book which I had just opened,
and kept down as well as I could the rising grumble of the inhospitable
Englishman, who is apt to be forgetful to entertain strangers, at least in
the parlour of his heart. And I cannot count it perfect hospitality to be
friendly and plentiful towards those whom you have invited to your
house--what thank has a man in that?--while you are cold and
forbidding to those who have not that claim on your attention. That is
not to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. By all means tell
people, when you are busy about something that must be done, that you
cannot spare the time for them except they want you upon something of
yet more pressing necessity; but TELL them, and do not get rid of them
by the use of the instrument commonly called THE COLD SHOULDER. It
is a wicked instrument that, and ought to have fallen out of use by this
time.
I went and received Mr and Miss Boulderstone, and was at least
thus far rewarded--that the EERIE feeling, as the Scotch would call it,
which I had about my parish, as containing none but CHARACTERS, and
therefore not being CANNIE, was entirely removed. At least there was a
wholesome leaven in it of honest stupidity. Please, kind reader, do not
fancy I am sneering. I declare to you I think a sneer the worst thing God
has not made. A curse is nothing in wickedness to it, it seems to me. I
do mean that honest stupidity I respect heartily, and do assert my
conviction that I do not know how England at least would get on without
it. But I do not mean the stupidity that sets up for teaching itself to its
neighbour, thinking itself wisdom all the time. That I do not respect.
Mr and Miss Boulderstone left me a little fatigued, but in no way
sore or grumbling. They only sent me back with additional zest to my
Plato, of which I enjoyed a hearty page or two before any one else
arrived. The only other visitors I had that day were an old surgeon in the
navy, who since his retirement had practised for many years in the
neighbourhood, and was still at the call of any one who did not think him
too old-fashioned--for even here the fashions, though decidedly elderly
young ladies by the time they arrived, held their sway none the less
imperiously--and Mr Brownrigg, the churchwarden. More of Dr Duncan
by and by.

36

Except Mr and Miss Boulderstone, I had not yet seen any
common people. They were all decidedly uncommon, and, as regarded
most of them, I could not think I should have any difficulty in preaching
to them. For, whatever place a man may give to preaching in the ritual
of the church--indeed it does not properly belong to the ritual at all--it is
yet the part of the so-called service with which his personality has most
to do. To the influences of the other parts he has to submit himself, ever
turning the openings of his soul towards them, that he may not be a
mere praying-machine; but with the sermon it is otherwise. That he
produces. For that he is responsible. And therefore, I say, it was a great
comfort to me to find myself amongst a people from which my spirit
neither shrunk in the act of preaching, nor with regard to which it was
likely to feel that it was beating itself against a stone wall. There was
some good in preaching to a man like Weir or Old Rogers. Whether there
was any good in preaching to a woman like Mrs Oldcastle I did not know.
The evening I thought I might give to my books, and thus end
my first Monday in my parish; but, as I said, Mr Brownrigg, the
churchwarden, called and stayed a whole weary hour, talking about
matters quite uninteresting to any who may hereafter peruse what I am
now writing. Really he was not an interesting man: short, broad, stout,
red-faced, with an immense amount of mental inertia, discharging itself
in constant lingual activity about little nothings. Indeed, when there was
no new nothing to be had, the old nothing would do over again to make
a fresh fuss about. But if you attempted to convey a thought into his
mind which involved the moving round half a degree from where he
stood, and looking at the matter from a point even so far new, you
found him utterly, totally impenetrable, as pachydermatous as any
rhinoceros or behemoth. One other corporeal fact I could not help
observing, was, that his cheeks rose at once from the collar of his green
coat, his neck being invisible, from the hollow between it and the jaw
being filled up to a level. The conformation was just what he himself
delighted to contemplate in his pigs, to which his resemblance was
greatly increased by unwearied endeavours to keep himself close
shaved.--I could not help feeling anxious about his son and Jane
Rogers.--He gave a quantity of gossip about various people, evidently
anxious that I should regard them as he regarded them; but in all he
said concerning them I could scarcely detect one point of significance as
to character or history. I was very glad indeed when the waddling of
hands--for it was the perfect imbecility of hand-shaking--was over, and
he was safely out of the gate. He had kept me standing on the steps for
full five minutes, and I did not feel safe from him till I was once more in
my study with the door shut.

37

not to say a clergyman. than not to know. I began to think it better to return Mrs Oldcastle's visit. seeing the Lord had said we should have them with us always. I shall mention them only as they come up in the course of my story. though I felt greatly disinclined to encounter that tight- skinned nose again. though. for the poor were kindly enough handled who belonged to the place. who. except when it responded to some nonsense of her grand-daughter's. After I had done so. Before many days had passed I had found out my poor. but there were not a great many in it. and that mouth whose smile had no light in it. in this house they would have been more comfortable than they were in their own houses. 38 . I believe. or knowing. and were not too severely compelled to go into the house. There was a workhouse in the village. And I did not feel that I knew in the least where I was until I had found out and conversed with almost the whole of mine. I thought. must be somewhere. not to minister to any of the poor. I am not going to try my reader's patience with anything of a more detailed account of my introduction to my various parishioners. I cannot imagine a much greater misfortune for a man.

But not to do it sometimes is to smile in the devil's face. About noon. yet still the air was fresh and invigorating. and then was still again. and that no one ought to do. through the woods which I had remarked flanking the meadow on my first walk up the river. I thought they were saying to each other across the top of the gate. that I would not quarrel with her without being quite certain that I ought. "Never mind. I walked over the old Gothic bridge with a heart strong enough to meet Mrs Oldcastle without flinching. I am not content. an unwomanly woman. These woods smelt so sweetly--their dead and dying leaves departing in sweet odours--that they quite made up for the absence of the flowers. I wish it were NEVER one's duty to quarrel with anybody: I do so hate it. I might have to quarrel with her--I could not tell: she certainly was neither safe nor wholesome. Can any one tell me why it is that. I came nearer and nearer to them through the village. OLDCASTLE HALL. and I could not have caught it that day. though the flaunting dahlias discourage him greatly? I do not ask for the physical causes: those I might be able to find out for myself. shook down a few leaves. when nature is dying for the winter. there was no wind--there was only a memory of wind that woke now and then in the bosom of the wood. notwithstanding their evil looks. holds his head erect. on a lovely autumn day." And in many of our questions we have to be content with such an approximation to an answer as this. 39 . With less. like the thoughts that flutter away in sighs. I wandered up the long winding road. and gaze with bowed head. The woods on the other side of the river from my house. Whatever that answer may be. towards which I was now walking. I had not to quarrel this time. when the earth is renewing her youth in the spring. he feels strong and hopeful. Where is the rightness and fitness in the thing? Should not man and nature go together in this world which was made for man--not for science. but I ask. though pleased heart. as I said. I did not catch it that day. it was too lovely a day to catch any hurt even from that most hurtful of all beings under the sun. and approached the great iron gate with the antediluvian monsters on the top of its stone pillars. on the crocuses. in the autumn. were of the most sombre rich colour--sombre and rich. on the contrary. But they let me through very quietly. he'll catch it soon enough. and walks with a vigorous step. like a life that has laid up treasure in heaven. CHAPTER VI . The keenness of the air had melted away with the heat of the sun. However." But. But this I was sure of. whereas. And awful monsters they were--are still! I see the tail of one of them at this very moment. Perhaps "I see a cherub that sees it. And the wind--no. I set out for Oldcastle Hall. but for man? Perhaps I have some glimmerings of where the answer lies. And for my part I am content with this. locked in a casket of sorrow. man should feel feeble and low-spirited.

all kinds and shades of brown and purple. and having motioned me to a seat. another hall. reading what I judged to be one of the cheap and gaudy religious books of the present day. a very much older." 40 . I was led up one of those grand square oak staircases. namely. not quite succeeding. which indicated a very different. I have proved them. I did not do so as I came back. And it certainly was not an interesting house from the outside. Several doors around indicated communication with other parts of the house. so many that I betook myself to my old childish amusement of walking in them without lifting my feet. But certainly my testimony is of no weight yet. Once inside. I found there were more remains of the olden time than I had expected. only they must be pretty nearly dead when they are on the ground. You would have perceived at once from her tone that she recognised no other bond of connexion between us but the parish. which look like a portion of the house to be dwelt in. you will find some of them very grasping indeed. It did not look such a large house as I have since found it to be. And you need not expect that they will give you the least credit for good intentions. Do not despise an old man because he cannot help loving people he never saw or even heard of. Mr Walton. which. "I hear you have been most kind in visiting the poor. The poor of this neighbourhood are very deficient in gratitude. But there was one charming group of old chimneys." "I have seen nothing yet to make me uneasy on that score. in a kind of mechanico-merciful way. I walked in the middle of the way then. wainscoted in oak simply carved and panelled. in fact.) I say I am getting old--(is it BUT or THEREFORE? I do not know which)--but. You must take care that they don't take advantage of your kindness. as I told you. began to talk about the parish. as if ashamed of its staring countenance. Here I found Mrs Oldcastle. you seem my friends already. red-rusty and bright fading green. I assure you. I am getting old. my friends. (See there. At length the road brought me up to the house. only because of the kind foiling of its efforts by the Virginia creepers and ivy. Multitudes of leaves lay on the sides of the path. face upon the house once--a face that had passed away to give place to this. On the top was a fine expanse of landing. though. Up the slope of the hillside they rose like one great rainbow- billow of foliage--bright yellow." "Mine is. though its surroundings of green grass and trees would make any whole beautiful. as if they had been living creatures--as indeed who can tell but they are. did all they could to spread their hands over it and hide it. and shown into a small dark drawing- room with a deep stone-mullioned window. and not like a ladder for getting from one part of the habitable regions to another. I shall never forget that one autumn day in those grandly fading woods. from which I was led towards the back of the house by a narrow passage. and I remember stepping over many single leaves. She rose and RECEIVED me. belonging to some portion behind. Indeed the house itself tried hard to look ugly. driving whole armies of them with ocean-like rustling before me. therefore.

41 . except it was that she knew she had no chance of quieting the girl in any other way. You remember how old dame Hope wouldn't take the money you offered her. wasn't it?" "I am sorry to hear of any disdainful reception of kindness. When. grannie. I can tell you. her boy in service was brought home ill. and dropped such a disdainful courtesy. wasn't she? With her sick boy at home. I would see what I could do for her. and then she'll begin to read me long lectures. When she came to see her conduct in its true light. It was SO greedy of her. But I won't stand it. grannie! You sent her five shillings. didn't you?--Oh no. although. I told her that it would be a very wrong thing in me to contribute to the support of such an evil spirit of unthankfulness as she indulged in. discovered by the keen eye of Miss Gladwyn. however." I said. grannie! I'm too much spoiled for that. She was really in no want at the time. on the very ground that it had been offered to her before. That was the other woman. The misunderstanding had arisen from the total incapacity of Mrs Oldcastle to enter sympathetically into the feelings of one as superior to herself in character as she was inferior in worldly condition. and nothing to give him?" said Miss Gladwyn. she had sent to ask for what she now required. may have given that appearance of disdain to her courtesy to which the girl alluded. and found that there had been a great misunderstanding. "Yes. I did not send her anything but a rebuke. to send up to me and ask if I would be kind enough to lend her half-a-crown for a few weeks. I'm wrong. such as I have made to indicate my surprise." "And then it was your turn. lest I should have no opportunity afterwards. that I inquired of dame Hope as to her version of the story. not without a feeling at the same time that it was more pleasant to refuse than to accept from such a giver. grannie. and had to lie on it." Mrs Oldcastle was silent--why. But to return to Oldcastle Hall. "She made her own bed. and did not feel that it would be quite honourable to take the money when she did not need it-- (some poor people ARE capable of such reasoning)--and so had refused it. I'm sure I shall be ungrateful some day." "Grannie doesn't believe in kindness. as I had suspected. except to me--dear old grannie! She spoils me. I may mention here." "Don't you think a little kindness might have had more effect in bringing her to see that she was wrong. "Yes. within a fortnight. "Yes. and confessed that she had behaved very abominably. and she had the coolness. I could not tell. you are right. and prick me with all manner of headless pins." "And meantime she was served out. some stray sparkle of which feeling. the words that followed were all rippled with a sweet laugh of amusement. But there was no interruption." "Indeed. when I looked half round in the direction whence the voice came.----" I started.

" I said. holding back one of the dingy heavy curtains with her small childish hand. by the side of the pond? That pond is a hundred feet deep. before Miss Gladwyn said-- "Oh. or at least did not reply." And as she spoke she emerged from a recess in the room. certainly. Grannie. Mr Walton. lay a pool of water. "This is a beautiful old house. the trees were climbing. at the first glance. One must have definite points for defence. where's--ah! there she is! There's auntie! Don't you see her down there. richly wooded. where I was indeed as much surprised and pleased as she could have wished. I found myself on the edge of a precipice--not a very deep one. in the centre of the hollow. I don't see her. she was off again. It did not lie in the lovely sweeps of hill and hollow stretching away to the horizon. and she wanted both to get them brilliant and to shame the lad for the future. yet with all the effect of many a deeper. no more. a kind of dark alcove. and I had neither. with here and there slopes of green grass. as far as they could reach. If auntie were to fall in she would be drowned before you could jump down to get her out. and yet now. which certainly was long and winding. For I had approached the house by a gentle slope. if one has not a thorough understanding of the character in question. have you looked out of the window yet? You don't know what a lovely place this is. I had a vision properly belonging to a rugged or mountainous country. and hopes. I saw an astonishment. indeed. "There must be strange places about it. if you haven't. "There!" again exclaimed Miss Gladwyn. the astonishment did not lie in this--though all this was really much more beautiful to the higher imagination--but in the fact that. but I can't. And down in the bottom. I wished to change the subject. And I had come up that one beautiful staircase. but had occasioned no feeling in my mind that I had reached any considerable height. with steep sides. when I looked from this window. and--though I saw none of them--sprinkled. And there. where she had been amusing herself with what I took to be some sort of puzzle. but they were all rocky and steep." 42 . "isn't that beautiful? But you haven't seen the most beautiful thing yet. "There!" she said. Can you swim?" Before I had time to answer. The sides were not all so steep as the one on which the house stood. knowing that blind defence is of no use. "Don't you see auntie down there?" "No. I followed her to the window. I knew it only by its slaty shimmer through the fading green of the tree-tops between me and it. but which I found afterwards to be the bit and curb-chain of her pony's bridle which she was polishing up to her own bright mind. certainly with sweet villages full of human thoughts. loves. For below the house on this side lay a great hollow. I have been trying very hard. up which. because the stable-boy had not pleased her in the matter." Mrs Oldcastle had not time to reply.

as. and looked down into the hollow. across a piece of grass. then? I never heard you called by any other name than Pet." "What am I to call you. Do you see her yet?" "No. if I had been drowned there. I daresay you can't. without which. but I won't answer one of them till you give up calling me Miss Gladwyn. "That WOULD be fun! For. I ran away. 'We must wait till she swells and floats?'" "Dear me! what a peculiar child!" I said to myself." "Then you must come down with me. and that would hardly do. poking with a long stick in the pond. I feared she would be. And I saw them. down a back-staircase." "Well. of a woman seated at the foot of a tree. whatever she said--even when she was most rude to her grandmother--she was never offensive. if she tried to hinder me--but she knows it's no use. I taught her that long ago--let me see." Whereupon Miss Gladwyn laughed merrily. And yet somehow. you know. and they thought I had drowned myself in the pond." she said. all the time. "Isn't your grandmamma afraid to let you run up and down here. indeed. Much prettier than grannie.--I thought I would venture a question with her. from what I had seen on our former interview. twenty. who. without even looking up from the little blue- boarded book she was again reading-- "You are a saucy child. I stood still at a turn of the zigzag. apparently in the utmost surprise. it would have been very dangerous. only said. which." Here she looked over her shoulder at grannie. "Come along. like a big potato with a little one grown out of it?" "No. never could have brought me up. Miss Gladwyn?" "Yes. would it?" 43 . Miss Gladwyn?" I said. She's much the prettiest thing here. still a good way below us. for it is a hundred feet deep. on the opposite side of the pond. with another stone on the top of it. seizing me by the hand. although rough. and. so long as you do that. I am sure. and then down a stair in the face of the rock. Nobody. was protected by an iron balustrade. and I will introduce you to her. No one could have helped feeling all the time that she was a little lady. if you like. "Well. auntie is under the trees on the opposite side from that stone. and. has got eyes but myself. Do you see a big stone by the edge of the pond. We can't be friends. "Me!" she exclaimed. where I could now distinguish the form. how long: oh! I don't know--I should think it must be ten years at least. towards the pond below. The stair went in zigzags. and stooping forward over a book. "May I ask you a question. instead of being angry. you know. I think. led me out of the room. How I hurt my sides trying to keep from screaming with laughter! I fancied I heard one say to the other.

I suppose that is because I never think about my father. then?" "No. between you and me. Judy. for. for anything I knew. it would be odd.--There's auntie. She used to be my nurse. I wonder why nobody ever mentions him to me. I don't think I ever saw her." "What is that?" "Judy. I must confess. and laugh at the Catechism! I didn't know that. I don't know a word of it. you know. then?" "Why." "What does it mean?" "I'm not sure about that." "Well. "What!" she said. Ethelwyn Oldcastle. you know. She might have been your father's sister." She said it in a tone which seemed to indicate surprise that I should not know her name--perhaps read it off her face. And now I do think of it. But I've answered plenty of questions. What is her other name?" "Why. "you a clergyman. "Oh. a little afraid of old Sarah. you know. as one ought to know a flower's name by looking at it. seems to remind me of my mother. pulling me by the hand. But I often think auntie must be thinking about my mother. or my mother either. Oh. auntie is afraid of grannie. such a funny name!--much funnier than Judy: Ethelwyn. just fancy if you called me Pet before grannie! That's grannie's name for me. I can't think why. I never was afraid of anybody--except. Come along. you know. and that's just why I never do one thing she wants me to do. that I should. when they are sadder than usual. if you want to get me on to the Catechism. It sounds as if it ought to mean something. you see." I laughed. what you must call me--my own name. Isn't it pretty?" "So pretty that I should like to know something more about Aunt Ethelwyn. haven't I? I assure you. I will try to find out when I go home--if you would like to know. just where I told you before. What else could it be?" "Why." "Why. doesn't it?" "Yes." "Might she? I never thought of that. glancing up in my face most comically-- "I wish yours was Punch. Something in her eyes. I should like to know everything about auntie Ethelwyn." "Oh yes! I see her now." "You remember your mother. It is an Anglo-Saxon word. yes. and grandmamma and everybody is afraid of her. without doubt." "Yes." 44 .--What does your aunt call you. But she added instantly. Judy?" "It would be such fun. and nobody dares to use it but grannie--not even auntie. It would never do to give in to being afraid of her. to be sure. of course. down there. What is your aunt's name?" "Oh. it might have been Gladwyn.

Mr Walton. It is well for you that I was here. and not half comprehending." 45 . Mr Walton. Quite a study. however. Judy. "I know now." I answered coolly. I had my coat half off. you did not give me time to say so. "where is she?" "There." I answered. here's Mr. her face unmoved. I started round. in the middle of which arose a heaving and bubbling. bewildered." "No. though mamma. pointing to the pool. but did not come forward. a winding path led us through the trees to the side of the pond." "I find her very interesting. a tremendous splash reached my ears from the pond. "Aunt Winnie. And then all at once the thought struck me--why was it that I had never seen this auntie. "Come out. though. intent on her book." said her aunt. and was rushing to the pool." returned Miss Oldcastle. Mr Walton? You said you could swim. There's a dear. "Why don't you help me out." "You KNOW I didn't mean it. When we reached the bottom. I lifted my hat and held out my hand. with the lovely name. saying. "Run home and change your clothes. at church? Was she going to turn out another strange parishioner? There she sat." I said. except by a smile. along which we passed to get to the other side. and never a child on whom it took less effect to hurt her. "But you haven't let me put the only question I wanted to put." "What is it?" "How old are you?" "Twelve. Walton. "You must be very much astonished at the little creature. and was off like a spaniel through the trees and up the stairs. As we drew near she looked up and rose. presently yielding passage to the laughing face of Judy. dripping and raining as she went. scrambled out." Judy swam to the opposite side. Judy had vanished. "I'm not laughing at the Catechism. Judy dear. Come along. Nothing would have delighted her more than to have you in the water too. She is really a good girl. "You talked so fast. I'm only laughing at the idea of putting Catechism questions to you. "It's only one of that frolicsome child's tricks." And away we went down the rest of the stair. with some indignation. Before our hands met." she said. will not allow me to say she is good." she returned. I suppose such things do happen sometimes." "But." said Judy. when Miss Oldcastle stopped me." "There never was a child so spoiled. I did not. who has done all the spoiling." "It's very cold.

could have a warmer friend. Judy disposed of. sweet-mouthed. I mean. honesty and friendliness over all her face. in taking upon me to relate--it is to describe a lady. And now my readers will possibly be thinking it odd that I have never yet said a word about what either Judy or Miss Oldcastle was like. I presume. except for the fact that impulse was always predominant. Here followed a pause. That is a very different thing from saying she had never done wrong. No one. If there is one thing I feel more inadequate to than another. instead of the gliding of one motion into another. and did not know what to say next. for. But the other--how shall I attempt to describe her? 46 . such as you might see in the same bird on the wing. was. There is one of the ladies. that she had never yet hurt her conscience. gray-eyed. This. for that she had such. There was nothing acrid in her. for I should know something about her at once if I could only see what she was reading. Judy was rosy. I tried to get a glance at the book in her hand. She was not tall. She never came to church. defiance in her eyebrows. evidently. like the hopping of a bird. and just a little too plump for the immediate suggestion of grace. not in the least like the books that young ladies generally have in their hands. and to an enemy she would be dangerous no longer than a fit of passion might last. what should I say next? And the moment her mind turned from Judy. and the reason. giving a certain jerkiness. assertion in her nose. made me even anxious to see what the book was. I saw a certain stillness--not a cloud. but the shadow of a cloud--come over Miss Oldcastle's face. But I will try the girl first. you know. She had confidence in her chin. a single glance at her face was enough to convince me. as if she. Yet every motion of the child would have been graceful. too. and I wanted to arrive at some notion of the source of her spiritual life. even for her age. found herself uncomfortable. But I could only discover that it was an old book in very shabby binding. auburn-haired.

I was so taken with her whole that I knew nothing about her parts. rather dark-haired. that she was a lady-woman. They were delicate and brave.--After the grace. if not of repulsion. of withdrawal. you would have discovered last. Her voice was sweet. That blue was the blue of the sea that had sunk through the eyes of some sea-rover's wife and settled in those of her child. as you must have discovered. And out of this whole. to which impression her slowness of speech. rather tall. and so was every now and then shining like heaven out at some of its eyes." I said--being as a young man too much inclined to the didactic." "I must venture to differ from you entirely in the aspect such an origin assumes to me. Fearing lest some such fancy as had possessed Judy should be moving in her mind. the dignity was the next thing you came to discover. For when the shine of the courtesy with which she received me had faded away a certain look of negative haughtiness." "Your surprise was the more natural that the place itself is not properly natural. "for. and quite blue-eyed. but it has not a very poetic origin. indicating northern extraction--some centuries back perhaps. I was seeing her. But I assure you it was not upon that occasion that I found out the colour of her eyes. And the only thing you would not have liked. Miss Oldcastle. but of circumstance of life. It had been dyed so deep INGRAYNE. yet going in some way or other to act the clergyman." This was rather a remarkable speech for a young lady to make." I said. The first thing I felt was. Yet she was blue-eyed. as Spenser would say. for. took its place. contributed." she returned. "This is a most romantic spot. That it is artificial I was no more prepared to hear than I was to see the place itself. if not exactly going to put her through her Catechism. "It seems to me a more poetic origin than any convulsion of nature whatever would have been. "and as surprising as it is romantic. look you. She was rather slender. I answered-- "I only know that such a chasm is the last thing I should have expected to find in this gently undulating country. I hastened to speak." I said--and she did look at me--"from that buried mass of rock has arisen this living house with its histories of ages and generations. that it had never been worn from the souls of the race since. which disappointed me in the midst of so much that was very lovely. not of life. And to feel that is almost to fall in love at first sight. and no words can make him see her. But I am not doing well as an artist in describing her so fully before my reader has become in the least degree interested in her. and"-- 47 ." "It looks pretty. namely. a look of consciousness of her own high breeding--a pride." I said. to be born when the voyage was over. Her features were what is called regular. that I was. the first thing you distinguished would be the grace over all. without any drawl in it. look you. and I could have fancied a tinge of sadness in it. I could hardly believe my eyes when I looked out of the window and saw it first. "It is nothing but the quarry out of which the old house at the top of it was built.

"I fear you have taken cold. that after her denial I was improperly pressing the point. making not only the house beautiful." 48 . "that such a chasm made by the uplifting of a house therefrom. We are not what we were then." she answered. of what the place used to be. "that all this mass of stone could be required to build the house. but now I could not help expressing concern. and her lips moved as if she would speak. But her large blue eyes were still fixed on mine." She drew herself up a little haughtily." I said." I went on. "The original building was more of a castle. too. terrible as is the idea of the fiery heart of the earth breaking out in convulsions. with walls and battlements." she answered. "This place must be damp. "But I can hardly think. "And it seems to me. I could see no bottom to the rocky shaft. but no sound came from them. and the picture. with a strong stream from it into the river. "I am afraid you feel ill. So I drew back to the subject of our conversation. I am not ill. has been built out of this old quarry. I had gone on. "but it has not the horror of dirty water. but the place whence it came beautiful too. Not a stone has been taken from it for the last fifty years. Walton. I followed. no doubt. thinking. Here I saw a change pass upon her face: it grew almost pallid. have all been employed to build this house. Miss Oldcastle." She smiled. large as it is. I should be more at ease if I might see you safe at the top of the stair first." I said. "Is it not a dreadful place? Such a depth!" "Yes. thinking it best to take no notice of her paleness. yet here is something greater. and then you shall go with me back to mamma. is therefore in itself more poetic than if it were even the mouth of an extinct volcano. till my sight was lost in them. I can show you the foundations of them still." "Not at all. A house is not solid. if you would allow me. grand as the motions and deeds of Nature are. and then I must leave you. though. human thought. and gazed down into its depths. Many a cottage. you know." she said." I said. "Indeed. human hands in human labour and effort. It stands on the edge of what Shelley would call its 'antenatal tomb'--now beautiful enough to be its mother--filled from generation to generation "-- Her face had grown still paler. for human will. Mr. "There is a strong spring down there." I answered. "though. it is as clear as crystal. more quickly than she had yet spoken. For." "No." She led the way to the edge of the pond and looked into it. I will go at once. "but I have duties to attend to." "Do not let me detain you a moment. Just let me show you one thing. How does the surplus escape?" "On the opposite side of the hill you came up there is a well." she answered. too. Just let me show you this.

It WAS cold. laughing. "Grannie." said I. I should hardly like to be so near this pond." I answered. which I thought must be considerably more pleasant than the other. 49 . But he would have jumped into the pond after me and got his death of cold if auntie would have let him." We now moved away from the pond. There are more dreadful stories than I can bear to think of"--- Here she paused abruptly. "But Judy knows every step of it. are you afraid Mr. do you see a little barred window. "That is what I wanted you to see. "in case of siege. confined to that purpose. "I see a kind of arch or opening in the side. I saw the old lady glance sharply from her to me as if she were jealous of what we might have been talking about. poor child! But just look down a little way into the water on this side." I replied. and everything out of it. in the face of the rock. "No." she answered. therefore. There was an old burial-ground here before the Hall was built. to procure water. and began anew "---As if that house had brought death and doom out of the earth with it. Mr Walton. but all as if she had done nothing extraordinary. coiled up on a couch. And. what she had done was not in the least extraordinary." "What is it?" "It is the window of a little room in the rock. though. indeed." I said." "Provided. That is the end of it you see under the water. towards the side of the quarry and the open-air stair-case. He doesn't understand that kind of thing. and took her leave with merely a bow of farewell. "Judy has taken all that away." I answered. Walton has been saying pretty things to Aunt Winnie? I assure you he is not of that sort. Nothing in nature." There she was in her dark corner. she would have dived through that archway now. against the wall of the pond. is strange to Judy. no doubt. I find it by certain trees. I think I see you dripping now. there. and laughing heartily. but not. Now. "I almost wonder at your choosing such a place to read in. estimated either by her own notions or practices. If it were not that the door at the top is locked. "Only part of the way. Do you see anything?" "Nothing. The child does not know what fear means. "Look again." "Have you ever been down the stair you speak of?" I asked. I confess I longed to see the gleam of that water at the bottom of the dark sloping passage. and been in her own room in half the time. from which a stair leads down through the rock to a sloping passage." "Most likely. Except you know where it is--and even then--it is not so easy to find it. Miss Oldcastle accompanied me to the room where I had left her mother. through the trees?" "I cannot say I do." she said.

reaching up towards me on tiptoe-- "Isn't she a beauty?" "Who? your grandmamma?" I returned. "Isn't she a beauty?" And then. who came very deliberately. Then she turned and waited for me. and. as I said. clearing the portion from the first landing at a bound. and danced before me down the oak staircase. "Yes. She gave me a little push. stepping with curious care--of which." she answered. I shook hands with the grandmother. of course. of course. in a half-whisper. feeling the unsure contact of sole and wax. I went home very quietly. let me go without another word. As soon as I reached her. But I did not expect she would take her revenge as she did. quite gravely. and with the grandchild with a feeling of mischievous health. and. She fallowed me out of the room. she said. she burst into loud laughter. with a certain invincible sense of slime. as if the girl might soon corrupt the clergyman into a partnership in pranks as well as in friendship. Disinclined to stay any longer. opening the hall-door for me. I did not think at the time--over the yellow and br 50 . seeing that she had put me hors de combat. her face glowing with fun.

51 .own leaves that lay in the middle of the road.

and likewise that to this our lives correspond. or rather capable of becoming capable of the truth. necessary to the gathering of such experiences. quite as unreal a mode of representing life as the other extreme. so that I was more than barely interested in each of them. the incredible one to the lower order of mind. the most marvellous and important fact to a human being. before we can form a true theory about it. has grown common from familiarity with its presence as our own. of my fellow-men? 52 . I had never sat down to talk with one of them without finding that that man or that woman had actually a HISTORY. True.) I came to the conclusion--not that I had got into an extraordinary parish of characters--but that every parish must be more or less extraordinary from the same cause. the vulgar notion of what is life-like in any annals is to be realised by sternly excluding everything but the commonplace. as I say. with this much of the end as well--that the appearance life bears to vulgar minds is represented with a wonderful degree of success. THEREFORE. But I believe that this is. and just. with even. before I came to Marshmallows. thinking about the strange elements that not only combine to make life. are often attained. some one more or less rosy touch of what we call the romantic. including a few strange coincidences. Now-a-days. I fell into these reflections from comparing in my own mind my former experiences in visiting my parishioners with those of that day. that the trouble I had been going through of late. wherein the unlikely. I went home very quietly. or the disposition either. and the means. The poetic region is the true one. so do some people read their own lives and those of others. And as I made more acquaintance with them. at least. there may lie ages between its capacity and the truth. and that the prose is only broken-down poetry. and the uncommon predominate. As you will hear some people read poetry so that no mortal could tell it was poetry. although striking at first. that the poetry is far the deepest in us. I doubt whether there is a single history--if one could only get at the whole of it--in which there is not a considerable admixture of the unlikely become fact. (for I had not been in the position. nay. My own conviction is. had opened the eyes of my mind to the understanding. which. at least. Why did I not use to see such people about me before? Surely I had undergone a change of some sort. THE BISHOP'S BASIN. the romantic. at least. I had found something more or less remarkable in every one of their histories. of the uncommon. CHAPTER VII . Could it be. but must be combined in our idea of life. or rather the simple SEEING. for although every mind is capable of the truth.

would not have been likely to be the companion of a young lady at the bottom of a quarry-- "A savage place." "It's a long time since you was here last. if it had been commonplace." "All right. Certainly I could not see much that was romantic in the old lady. And that madcap girl--she never flung herself into the pond!--it could not be. somehow or other. but it is only so much the more like the jumble of thoughts that made a chaos of my mind as I went home. since I rose to look out of the window in the old house. He was working at a window-sash. Did he mean a reproach? If so. sir." I know all this will sound ridiculous. and now he is letting in the light. No doubt this was one of them." he said. No. such as. No doubt there were such places somewhere yet. for commonplace books are generally new. But the people among whom I had been to-day belonged rather to such as might be put into a romantic story. it would hardly come into my ideas of a nineteenth-century country parish at all. Only to let you know you was welcome. and yet." I answered. and all that--what had it all to do with this broad daylight. but not with a coffin this time. "Well. or at least in fine bindings. And here was a shabby little old book. I shall leave my reader to judge. Yes. "The other day he was closing up in the outer darkness. Of course it was. "Just like life. Whether my plan was successful or not. And then for that terrible pool. Don't suppose I meant to complain. had been but a dream. I found Weir busy as usual. sir. But. even from Old Rogers. "I wanted to know something about all my people. before I paid a second visit to any of them. I had not made use even of my reserve in the shape of a visit to his father. sir. I had no intention of GOING IN FOR--that is the phrase now--going in for the romantic. those eyes and that tight-skinned face--what might they not be capable of in the working out of a story? And then the place they lived in! Why. I was tempted to try to persuade myself that all that had happened. and these dying autumn leaves? No doubt there had been such places. But what was it? What had that to do with the matter? It might turn out to be a very commonplace book after all. For how could that wooded dell have come there after all? It was much too large for a quarry. I would take the impression off by going to see Weir the carpenter's old father. and willing at the same time to let the man feel that he was in no danger of being bored by my visits. having a good deal to attend to besides. but without a smile. especially that quotation from Kubla Khan coming after the close of the preceding sentence. I was more glad of that reproach than I would have been of the warmest welcome. And what could the book have been that the lady with the sea-blue eyes was reading? Was that a real book at all? No. it would not come in well. The fact was that. as holy and enchanted As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted By woman wailing for her demon lover." 53 . and subterranean passage." I thought--tritely perhaps.

and he's fond of a bit of gossip. the sparrow will grow strong enough to heave the intruding cuckoo overboard. He can't get so far as the church on Sundays. And what makes me remember it yet? It is the smile that lighted up his face in response to mine. which was none the less genuine that I remember it yet. only perhaps you was a long way ahead of me. for I don't like pretences. which is the greatest honour one man can do another. And I know he's been looking out for you. For in the moral nest. that perhaps. if it is convenient and agreeable. And I've never told him that I'd been to church since you came--I suppose from a bit of pride. as the eastern tyrants used to do. is the old man. but I don't doubt some of the neighbours have told him. after all." Now the man was not right in saying that we were much of the same way of THINKING. sir. and I hoped that I too had such a regard. because I had so long lefused to go. sir. You'll understand. I mean--to be at all careful to discriminate. for he don't see a great many to talk to. And I was delighted to think that the road lay open for further and more real communion between us in time to come. "Well. sir. wanting me to try whether I couldn't get more out of you than the old parson. for it is setting him on his own steed. That's the way we talk about you. would ultimately eliminate the other. I know. I had been too often taken in--by myself." I added--with a smile. And his answer helped to fix the smile in my memory. sir." "My father will be delighted to see you. So I was pleased that the man should do me the honour of thinking I was right as far as he could see. my visit to-day was not so much to you as to your father. For it was more than I looked for. I felt sure. seeing we don't exactly think the same way about some things. But now I must see your father. but you'll find him much more to your mind than me. "You made me think. from the first. perhaps. only I was afraid of seeming to intrude upon you. the original inhabitant is the stronger. The right. to tell the truth. "I think we shall understand each other perfectly before long. that the man had a regard for the downright. you see. I know. And. honest way of things. for he never speaks about it now. it is not as with the sparrow and the cuckoo. He's been putting ever so many questions to me about the new parson. which. How much of selfishness and of pride in one's own judgment might be mixed up with it. both in his case and mine." I answered. but what he meant was right enough. and. It WILL be a pleasure to the old man. sir. whom. "I've just come from my first visit to Oldcastle Hall. we were much of the same way of thinking. however unlikely at any given point in the history it may be." 54 . for our opinions could hardly do more than come within sight of each other. I ought to have called upon before. provided there was a proportion of real honesty along with it. and I fancy he's begun to wonder that the parson was going to see everybody but him. For I was certain.

letting the light of the kingdom. holding out a thin. and another bit in front of the fire. all had been whitewashed. Weir led the way through the shop into a lobby behind. for even at this distance of time. "I'm blithe to see ye. welcomed me with an air of breeding rarely to be met with in his station in society. that the man. sir. His son brought another chair for him. when I am old myself. Mr Weir.looking chair. and rise into the pure air and wind and dew of the second life. I hesitated no longer. Age is such a different thing in different natures! One man seems to grow more and more selfish as he grows older. as the husk grows thin and is ready to fall off. turning. The face of a loving old man is always to me like a morning moon. but took the old man's seat. and in another the slow fire of time seems only to consume. leaving us alone. At one end stood a bed with chintz curtains and a warm-looking counterpane of rich faded embroidery. when it does rise. sir. and. sir. It was delicate as that of Dante. yet fading before its approaching light. There were bits of old carving about the walls of the room yet. shaking hand. though I warrant it won't last that long after I be gone home. took my fancy wonderfully. and he sat down opposite the fire and close to me. sir. But all the sternness which Dante's evil times had generated in his prophetic face was in this old man's replaced by a sweetness of hope that was lovely to behold. reflecting the yet unrisen sun of the other world." Thus entreated. not to turn them out of their seats. and thence up what must have been a back-stair of the old house. may pierce the earth of this world. He looked much older when on his feet. which in form it marvellously resembled. until. sir. 55 . Thomas then went back to his work. the yet lingering selfishness in him. "I cannot take your chair. But the chief part of this polish sprung from the inbred kindliness of his nature. With a great effort he managed to rise as I approached him." said he. and there the old man sat." "It would do me good to see you sitting in my cheer. but. notwithstanding my entreaties that he would not move. in a high-backed not very easy. you may see. and I then saw his profile. which the Lord says is within. on one side. shine out more and more. "No." And. as in the shop below. like the seed sown. he pointed to his own easy-chair. So saying. The cheer'll hold ye. the recollection of his beautiful old face makes me feel as if I could write poetry about him. with fine. which was manifest in the expression of his noble old countenance. imperceptible gradations. There was a bit of carpet by the bedside. for he was bent nearly double. sir. The Bible tells us to rise up before the aged. into a large room over the workshop. For he did totter a few steps to meet me. it pales and withers away from our gaze." I said. "Sit ye down. without even the aid of a stick. Sit ye down. in which posture the marvel was how he could walk at all. The pains that my son Tom there takes to keep it up as long as the old man may want it! It's a good thing I bred him to the joiner's trade. absorbed in the source of its own beauty. This old man. Sit ye down.

he was born with a sore bit in him somewheres. the moment he was gone." I answered. but he will have the reason for everythink. "Besides. Tom there.' but you turns and goes along wi' him. They call it a second childhood. sir? And there are some things worth growin' a child again to get a hould ov again. "It's main kind o' you. whatever it is. and know how to give him head. that they didn't much regard them in their hearts. but it was a sort of accomplishment to be able to talk to the poor. I know that. if he'd only give in. sir. "Ye've had some speech wi' my son Tom. and I don't think he rightly knows what's the matter with him himself. He's not a bad fellow at all. You have no idea how that boy of mine. only he'll say nothin' again' you. But he can't see his way clear. I don't rightly know wheres. is Tom. you see. But Tom. and when a man is that way given. 56 . I mean. it's my duty to know all my people. he believes that you MEAN it." "Take my word for it." "I only hope what you say may be true--about me. I think he would be far happier. after their own fashion." I said. sir. sir. looking bewildered and curious." "But I find Thomas quite open to reason. Mr. But there's a thousand ways ov doin' the same thing. the faults always hides the other side. he doesn't feel at home yet. sir. or if you couldn't see you could tell without seein'. sir. You don't say. like. For an ould man somehow comes to know things like a child. don't they." said the old man. sir." "You must give him time. But the minute an ould man sees you. you know. 'at made a great show ov bein' friendly to the poor. He tould me of the talk you had with him." said the old man. and all the time you could see. I ha' seen folks. You don't bait him." "You don't say it's kind of a person to do what he likes best. sir. sir. 'You must come along wi' me. He's got an unfortunate gift o' seein' all the faults first. Not that he's anyway favourable to them yet. so that there's nothing but faults to be seen. so long as he doesn't know his own Father?" "I'm not sure that I rightly understand you. sir. parsons and others." "Oh yes. Now I never did want the reason for everything." "I dare say you have a guess though. I was content to be tould a many things. did hate all the clergy till you come. The fact is.' And how can he." "Well. Weir. by this time. leaning a little towards me. "and I think I have a guess too. sir." "That's because you understand him. ye know. to take up kindly wi' poor folks like us.

I'm no Catholic. A strange story it is. An ejaculation of love is not likely to offend Him who is so grand that He is always meek and lowly of heart. I might have understood you well enough. sir. Thomas just wants faith. as it were--though it might be none to put in the bank. sir. I couldn't ha' been their son. sir. That boy has known his father all his life. while he is at his work or his play in a nursery below-stairs. you know. as it were. The Lord help my mother! I beg yer pardon. though mayhap. if my poor old head hadn't been started on a wrong track. sir. sir. to go on with. And I do love my mother. I might ha' been the son o' somebody else. But that prayer will come of itself sometimes. you know. A man must feel a head over him." "Strange!" I said. Mr Walton. As if it could be of any use now! God forgive me!" "Don't you be afraid. as it were-- the ready--money of comfort." "Ah." said the old man promptly. as if God was ready to take offence at what comes naturally. Mr Weir. he can't feel comfortable. So that He had more to do wi' the makin' o' me than they had. "that till a man knows that he is one of God's family. "Then your father and mother--?" And here I hesitated. And I'm so sorry for my father that I love him too. "I couldn't help it. sir. but I was nearly half his age before I knew mine. I would not have e'er another couple of parents in all England." "Thank you. who is doing things all well and right. "Yes. I wouldn't have liked that at all." 57 ." I answered. as you say. I would die like a psalm-tune on an organ. if He had His way all out. that didn't get some comfort. and whose love is such that ours is a mere faint light--'a little glooming light much like a shade'--as one of our own poets says. And I am heart-sure it's true. strange you may well say. "Were never married. with God up-stairs. sir. sir." "That's true enough." I said. sir. living in God's house. instead of looking down to the ground. though I ne'er knew one o' them. as I have known in my poor time. And I'm no less the child of my Father in heaven for it. For a man could not be made that should stand alone. sir. But. if we could only understand them. though it really does not look like it sometimes. beside it. And if I could only get my boy Tom to think as I do. There's no use in keeping family misfortunes from a friend like you. and bein' once born so. I don't believe there ever was one that just lifted his eyes and looked up'ards. now that things be so. That's a real comfortable word. sir. "I mean. God be praised for evermore! He IS good. as if he would relieve me from an embarrassing position. like some of the beasts. For if He hadn't made me. sir. sir. because he's not enough to satisfy himself. he wants to feel that there is a loving Father over him. sir. involuntarily almost. that is. sir. For I fancied for the moment that you were just putting your finger upon the sore place in Tom's mind.

who knows." I said. But once evil is done. It's well even if they do that much. and as little likely to get over it herself. sir. He is used to his position in life. we have had the same misfortune all over again among the young people. though there be suspicions." I asked no more questions. go and see her. That was a night! The wind was roaring like a mad beast about the house. the old man went on. from what that lass used to be as a young one. that she wouldn't be likely to forget it. But. Surely he would not want another father than you. now. that no one knows for certain. "But it seems to me strange." I said." "You don't mean Oldcastle Hall?" I said. and no doubt it would be as you say." "How did she get into the trouble? Who is the father of her child?" "Nay. "he may find some good come out of that too. fire wouldn't drive his name out at her mouth. we may humbly look to Him who bringeth good out of evil. sir?" "I think. was what made the other fact clear to me. the good we looked for will never come thereby. But there has been other things to keep his mind upon the old affair. She never conies near her father or her sister. and one of them. no doubt. I know my lass. but the great house over the way. and wait. only my boy Tom has a sore heart. I know. or pass it over to another. though she lets them. But. I believe. Indeed." I knew at once to what he alluded. which I saw plainly enough. even her own father." "Well. And there can be nothing cast up to him about his birth or descent. "that your son should think so much of what is so far gone by. And it now occurred to me for the first time that it was a likeness to her little boy that had affected me so pleasantly when I first saw Thomas. correct. leastways her sister. But what she looks like now. after a short pause. "I shan't soon forget the night I first heard about my father and mother. Is your granddaughter Catherine in bad health? She looks so delicate!" "She always had an uncommon look. "Perhaps. and that she was neither wife nor widow. And at the same moment I began to be haunted with a flickering sense of a third likeness which I could not in the least fix or identify. for I could not have been about in my parish all this time without learning that the strange handsome woman in the little shop was the daughter of Thomas Weir." "That's all very true. And if ever he put a bad name upon her in her hearing. "that if we do evil that good may come. but she has never crossed this door since we got her set up in that shop.--not this house. sir. 58 ." I said. I hear no complaints. with her. The likeness to his great-grandfather. When she says a thing. It's my belief there's some people made so hard that they never can forgive anythink. I don't believe they do more nor nod to one another when they meet in the village. she 'll stick to it. I don't know. I'm afraid Tom has been rayther unmerciful. his grandfather. And I mustn't say anything more about it. sir.

sir. fearing my question might have turned the old man aside from a story worth hearing." So the old man went on. though when I was born it was another branch of the family. Pray tell it out your own way. she had gotten me from the cellar--for I had been out in the wind all day. sir. that lived in it. as I was a- saying.' said auntie. as she sat on the other side of the little round table before the fire.'-'Sit ye still. sir." "Not in the least." I said. it was roaring!-roaring as if it was mad with rage! And every now and then it would come down the chimley like out of a gun. 'I don't want my bed yet. auntie. and took it all in its own hand again. looking very prim in her long white apron.' said she.' And there she sat. 'You 'll be wet afore you get across the yard. and I'll be going. and went on roaring worse than ever. "Quite the contrary. and swept the rain away. o' the other side.' she said. for you'll be wanting your bed. But I fared of the best. which she always had before she went to bed. sir." "Eh. 'I'm not salt. I was at that time a kind of a under-gamekeeper upon the place.' says I.--Well. Samuel. I am anxious to hear all about that night. sipping a drop of hot rum and water. I called her auntie. and slept over the stable. down came the rain with a noise that sounded like a regiment of cavalry on the turnpike road t'other side of the hill. You were saying the wind was blowing about the old house.--But I'm wearying you.' said she. Samuel. For the housekeeper had been giving me my supper. That's always the way. and blow the smoke and a'most the fire into the middle of the housekeeper's room. And then up the wind got again." returned the old man. "never mind all that now. Do go on. and didn't know a bit that she wasn't my aunt really. 'Never mind. and then stopped again. 'You'll be wet to the skin. and there I sat. for I was a favourite with the old woman--I suppose because I had given her plenty of trouble in my time. nor yet sugar. I believe. 59 . "'Deed I do. But even then it was something on to the downhill road." I answered. when the wind stopped for a moment. I assure you. if you please. "This house here belonged to the same family at one time. second cousins or something. drinking the last of a pint of October. then." "But. 'It was just such a night as this. with my long story. You won't tire me. sipping at her rum and water.

I'm sure I don't know. is it. It's not easy getting on without a mother.' she said. somehow. and laughed. 'It was. for dearly did I love your mother.' I said. still making game of it. 'there you are. you give it up for a bad job. like a wise man. I make no doubt. auntie?' I said. and I couldn't speak. when you was a mere boy. She never got on well with the children. the only thing she could do was to take a governess's place. child. and I hope you won't blame me. you don't know who your own father was!'--'No more I do.' I answered. whatever folks may say. 'Well. I suppose.' So the old lady always said. 'I couldn't help it. as I came to know from her own lips. my boy. "' It was just such a night as this. that you're sitting there now. Why. I think. She was a beauty. auntie?' I said. and it's time you knew all about it. at the bottom of the Bishop's Basin. with plenty of servants. So she wasn't taught much of the best sort.' she began again--'leastways it was snow and not rain that was coming down.'--'What happened such a night. 'Yes. I never knew one o' them shut the door when they went out of this room.' I felt the skin go creepin' together upon my head. That's all. None has a better right. that she ever did. though I love you nearly as well. 'it's time you knew all about it. But I don't blame you. but I suppose.'-. if I could. 'ye may well ask what happened.'--'Oh. You always was a wise child.' I said. for they were young and self willed and rude.'--'Indeed you did many a time. quite solemn. you know.'--' What do you mean. But I wonder now that I never did.' said she. She did look 60 . When her father died early. my lad!' said she. as if the Almighty was a- going to spend all His winter-stock at oncet. was the daughter of a country attorney. and she was left atone. in less bulk by a good deal. that's all.--I am morally certain it was your own father.'--'But who wanted to drown me?' 'Are you sure you can forgive him.--Miss Wallis. nay. I'm certain. 'Never you mind. that she was. then? I assure you. you see.' says she. I thought it was all right. you was anything but welcome. though I can't prove it. suppose he was sitting where you be now. 'you certainly wasn't wanted. my dear. The only wrong thing. and she came to us. I reckon. as if I was. that it's my fault. You happened. I'm very sorry to hear I intruded. 'But now.'And why wasn't I welcome?' I said. though why or wherefore. But she was a sweet creature. But I must see and give you the story right through from beginning to end. it was. 'what is there to laugh at. and not lying. as you never was answered. and would not learn to do as they were bid. if so be that fault it is. and forgot all about it. and was likely to leave her well off. for I always did like a joke. from having had all her own way at home. 'Most extraordinary. And. my boy. And I was willing to believe she was right. auntie!' I said. and money to spend. Samuel. if I tell you?'--'Sure enough. auntie ?' I mean this. and you can take care of yourself now as well as anybody. feeling very queer. Her mother died when she was a little girl. and better than she was beautiful. 'Ah.' said she. was to trust your father too much. and as if I really had no business to be there.--Poor Miss Wallis!--I'm no aunt of yours. sir. Samuel.' That's what they call a deep pond at the foot of the old house. Samuel. it was a sore change to her. 'Nay. 'and I never cared to ask. sir. who had a good practice. like.

poor thing. She might as well have talked to wild cats. taking up the speech in his own person. I made her as warm and as comfortable as I could." said Weir. for she used often to come and see me of an evening. but I had to nurse her for a fortnight before she was able to do anything again. took any notice or care of her. It was a heartsore to me to see the poor young thing. Nobody. else he wouldn't ha' done it at all. you see. and her eyes fixed on the fire. It would have made your heart bleed to see the poor thing flung all of a heap on her bed. sir. so that my time was constantly taken up. But when we did meet on some of the back stairs. and then she would just shove her aside or crush her like a spider. and I saw much less of poor Miss Wallis than I had seen before. and for month after month the house was more or less filled with visitors. was coming home. For the children were kept away with her in the old house. I used to wonder what she could be thinking about. and of course it fell to me to look after her. "My dear!" I said. without speaking. you see. And what do you think she did? She couldn't refuse them. and a lady of her acquaintance begged for some of them.sorely tried when Master Freddy would get on the back of her chair.'--They have always been a proud and a fierce race. when all at once it was announced that Miss Oldcastle. and nobody minding her. And so she sent the hyacinth-roots--but she boiled 'em first. or when she came to my room for a few minutes before 61 . and never stir for all she could say to them. that were more like wild cats than human beings. and she burst out crying. sir. but only laugh at her. and she couldn't bear any one to have them as good as she. and I never spoke a word. and she Had some particular fine ones. blue with cold and coughing. and I had made up my mind she was not long for this world. there she was. and from that moment there was confidence between us. She didn't shirk her work though. She had a fancy for hyacinths in her rooms in the spring. when the poor thing.--'And so. and she would sit there where you are sitting now for an hour at a time. sir. "and there's been a deal o' breedin in-and-in amongst them. And auntie began again. 'was taken with a dreadful cold. The gardener told me himself. The men took to the women of their own sort somehow. and ha' done with her. with her sweet eyes and her pale face. her thin white hands lying folded in her lap. for the family wasn't too much in the way or the means either of paying their debts--well. which was no wonder if you saw the state of the window in the room she had to sleep in. talking away to those children. The lady up at the old Hall now is a Crowfoot.--To be sure!' And then auntie would take a sip at her rum and water. I'm sure. and then we began to see a great deal of company. and which I got old Jones to set to rights and paid him for it out of my own pocket.' said auntie. the Oldcastles. and my lady wasn't one to take trouble about anybody till once she stood in her way. and that has kept up the worst of them. And I sat as if all my head was one great ear. and sit considering old times like a static. I'll just tell you one thing the gardener told me about her years ago. But I don't think she was ever so miserable again as she must have been before her illness. who had been to school for some time. 'The way I came to know so much about her was this. and Miss Gusta would lie down on the rug.

sir. no woman could resist. Samuel. and the son of Sir Giles Crowfoot'--who lived then in this old house. just after the sun was down. The captain was a man about two or three and thirty. out of doors it would have been impossible for Miss Wallis to do anything with them. somehow or other. sir! But I never said a word. with a smile that. But I don't know.'-Think of hearing that about one's own father. of the ways and means by which he had made the money. He was a fine. At all events. It was a lovely spring night. who should I see at the other end of the path that went along. she didn't seem to mind it so much. And he shot him dead. But he first thrashed him most unmercifully.' said my aunt. Samuel. he could scarcely see out of his eyes. we were just as good friends as ever. For the captain had not the best of characters--that is. for when the spring came on. I don't know. but Miss Wallis walking arm-in- arm with Captain Crowfoot. and indeed they were clever children." And she would smile and say something sweet. I don't know whether officers are so particular. handsome fellow. for I felt as sure as judgment that no good could come of it. for I hadn't a word to say. this was a fact. you see. and some said it was only that his brother officers didn't approve of his speculating as he did in horses and other things. who was just home from India. and could be engaging enough when they pleased. and I wanted a drop of milk fresh from the cow for something that I was making for dinner the next day. All the time he was smiling. as people said. and indeed. He had quarrelled with a young ensign in the regiment. though I'm sure it would have given me no trouble to resist it. 'else you 62 . for her eyes grew brighter and a flush came upon her pale face. not thinking any harm or any shame of it. On which side the wrong was. and then called him out.--'Think of that. for I saw that that same smile was the falsest thing of all the false things about him. you would have thought he was looking at himself in a glass.' said my aunt. and though the children were as tiresome as ever. And when the poor fellow appeared. "I wish this scurry was over. But when I got among the trees. whatever they may mean by that. so I went through the kitchen-garden and through the belt of young larches to go to the shippen. Some of the visitors would take to them too. But I was surprised to see that her health began to come back--at least so it seemed to me. and had but that one son. for they behaved so badly to nobody as to Miss Wallis. and such like. only I don't think he would have been the favourite he was with my lady if he hadn't. manly. And reports were about. for it was one of his own servants that told me.--did Captain Crowfoot. my father. and certainly couldn't take anything like an aim. as they say. sir. my dear. But indeed she had not very much to do with them out of school hours now. they would be out and about the place with their sister or one of their brothers.--'And it did give me a turn. that we might have our old times again. a relation of the family. where he had been with Lord Clive. And I used to say. He was said to have gathered a power of money in India. too. though he was a great favourite with everybody that knew nothing about him.going to bed. some said by robbing the poor heathen creatures. 'to see her walking with him.--But then I had a blow. when people talked about him in chimney corners.

" says I. By and by came the news that the captain and Miss Oldcastle were to be married in the spring. I know she didn't see me. The captain came and went. one night she came to my room. and wanted to send her away. sir. but I can't tell you the story without feeling as if my heart would break for the poor young lady.' said my aunt. And it was days before I caught a glimpse of Miss Wallis again. How ever the poor thing got on with her work. if he saw me he took no notice. but something was between her and me that she never spoke a word about herself. at least to speak to her. "Why. and I never moved till it was pitch dark and my fire out. 'with my empty jug in my hand. but she grew weaker and weaker. Captain Crowfoot. who had grown a line young woman by that time. And Miss Wallis took to her bed after that. And the next time I met her. Things went on like this for some months. for her face was down. I felt as if the earth was sinking away from under the feet of me. and a blush instead of a smile on her sweet face. She had been to ask me about her. And I didn't blame her. and without a. And so I could only cry. and began to make up to Miss Oldcastle. but she was able for all that to say. and I told her the poor thing must go to a 63 . and I stood and stared at them. who was far superior to any of the rest in her disposition.--'I went back to my room. And you won't even then. but I knew that that villain had gotten a hold of her. burning and smiling at once.--Well. And they came on. and never alluded to the captain. and I sat down as if I had had a stroke.'--I'm an old man now. and my lady said she had never been of much use. She turned awful pale. quite sharp like. "Indian servants are known liars. stopping a week at a time. she was."--"Do so. But I'll ask him. not fearing for myself. for everybody was calling after me at that time. quite scornful like. So I tumbled out all I had against him in one breath. I said to her. He came again in the autumn for the shooting. Samuel." says she. I took the best care of her she would let me. never seeing me. Before long I was certain that if ever young creature was in a consumption. and hoping that it might lead to a quarrel between them. "to be sure. and this was in the first of the summer. "and I don't believe one word of it all. and then he said he was ordered abroad again. my dear. for I don't suppose that the angel with the flaming sword would have put him out. and contrived that she should have her meals in her own room. At last. It was a marvel to me afterwards that nobody came near me. and she shook from head to foot. But Miss Oldcastle. "Oh. But for her. But I must tell you. moment of parley. But he didn't go abroad. Mrs Prendergast." I said. and I never saw my mother."--"What have you to say against Captain Crowfoot?" says she. and went away. at least. and actually went close past me and never saw me.won't believe what I am going to tell you. and that I did. nevertheless and notwithstanding. Then he stopped for a whole month. I dare say. the next time I see him. but she never said a word to me. my dear! what was that wretch saying to you?"--"What wretch?" says she. The captain went away again. Samuel--it was in the gallery that takes to the west turret--she passed me with a nod just. And then Miss Wallis began to pine. for I knew he would not make any fuss that might bring the thing out into the air. spoke up for her. I can't think.

I could see yet less of her than before. and nobody ever shall if I can help it. with the preparations for the wedding. and burst into a terrible fit of crying. And after that a circumstance came about that made me uneasy. she all at once threw her arms about my neck." To tell the truth. I did not know how to object. as I was settling her pillow for her. and spoke of an asylum. my dear. till all is over. "I know now. I began to think myself her mind must be going. but never a word would Miss Wallis answer. and when Miss Oldcastle sent the Hindoo to ask me if she might not sit in the room with the poor girl. And then she went to see the governess. and when I laid her down again. I doubted even if she understood me. But I said she hadn't long to live. for not a word would she speak. and I never shall. they say. I never could abide the snake-look of the fellow. for she had ne'er a home to go to. I'll do all I can for you. And Miss Oldcastle thought she was out of her mind. A Hindoo servant--the captain called him his NIGGER always--had been constantly in attendance upon him. He said that his man had fallen in with her in London." She caught hold of my hand and held it to her lips. when the wedding was to take place. and cried again. So she went. poor thing! and spoke very kindly to her. and it would be very nice for his wife to take her back with her to India. It was well for her. but more quietly. though plainly getting weaker and weaker. Meantime poor Emily grew fast worse. I felt a great mistrust of the woman somehow or other. I whispered in her ear. I had tried before to find out from her when greater care would be necessary. that I put my arms round her and lifted her up to give her relief. she only stared at her with great. And she promised. and then to her bosom. I never did like blacks. nor the noiseless way he went about the house. I would take all the care and trouble of her. I longed to have the wedding over that I 64 . Only I was forced to be careful not to be out of the way when my lady wanted me. and sat by her. and all was right between us once more. though every moment I could spare I was up with her in her room. and make her useful till after the wedding. and the poor thing was left alone. and how she held out with that terrible cough of hers I never could understand--and spitting blood. and if she would get my lady her mother to consent to take no notice. too. every other hour or so. I called her Emily because she had begged me. and waited on her very kindly--at least poor Emily said so. that she could go to her bed. that he had known her before.hospital if she was sent away. and so she lived on and on. big. "Nobody need ever know about it. though I did not at all like her being there.--At the captain's next visit. even to me. but she couldn't tell me anything. poor thing. This was easily arranged. that she might feel as if her mother were with her. She sobbed and panted for breath so dreadfully. though not very much. to my great trouble. wild-like eyes. But this time the captain had a Hindoo woman with him as well. the wedding-day was fixed. And I said to myself. if she could only give her house room. And now. and he went away to return in three weeks. my hope was that she would die before there was any need for further concealment. for that would have tied me more. and she was a child again. At length one day. "But people in that condition seldom die. that she had come home as nurse with an English family.

It's my belief that swords will be drawn afore long. and into every vault on the way. for. William!" says I. the butler. only it was snow in its mouth.--When he went back with the wine. "speak out. to tell the truth. The captain was going to take his bride home to his father. it will come the sooner if you don't give them what they want. to be sure! After dinner was over and the ladies were gone to the drawing-room. "Would you mind coming with me?"--"Dear me. I was just going up to see poor Emily when I heard the noise of their unsteady feet coming along the passage to my door. the wedding-day came. And there the matter. and I gave the captain the key at once. with an oath. and not rain." says he. if you like. William. "Lawks. And twice I came upon the two blacks in close conversation. and brought up six bottles more of the best port. according to William. and there's the gentlemen calling for more wine. and get everything prepared." Whereupon the captain cried.might get rid of the black woman. that you wanted an old body like me to go and take care of you in your own cellar. drinking less than usual--it was brought up again. the captain said. and his man with him." And so down we went. whose wife lived at the lodge-- came to my room looking scared. and have time to take her place. in sich a night. and said no more. but. ma'am. demanding the key of the room at the top of the stair. when I was down there. and cursing and swearing that it's awful to hear." Now. too. But after they had drunk the most of it--the captain. It did blow. William. "A man might well be afraid to go anywhere alone in a night like this. Sir Giles said. "Mrs Prendergast. they were all at my door. according to William. "William. "But I'll go with you. The people went to church. dropped. The wind blew for all the world just as it blows this night.' said my aunt. that William didn't much like to go alone. Go and get it as fast as you can. And I really didn't wonder. '"whatever is the matter with you?"--"Well. Mrs Prendergast!" says he. and heard the dull roar of the wind against the rock below." says I. Carriage and horses and all would have been blown off the road for certain. short as the distance was. wishing with all my heart he might get a good fright for his pains." says I. The captain arrived. as a proof he had been down. William Weir--an honest man. and while they were there a terrible storm of wind and snow came on.--Well. "Lawks. and younger than me--"a pretty story to tell your wife. And in five minutes after. and the gentlemen had been sitting over their wine for some time." says he. wasn't that odd."--"I don't a'most like goin' down them stairs alone. for the wager of a guinea. such that the horses would hardly face it. it's a terrible night. what kept you so long? Mr Centlivre says that you were afraid to go down into the cellar. "a pretty story to tell your wife"--she was my own half-sister. to bring some water up from the well."--"Well. he couldn't tell by which of them. He took a jug with him. it's a strange wedding. before the time came the storm got so dreadful that no one could think of leaving the house that night. "William. sir." says I. for it was a real fact? Before William could reply."--"Tut!" says I. for the fresh wine was put on the table. that he would go down the underground stair. The rest of the gentlemen went with him into 65 . Sir Giles's. it is! There's the ladies all alone in the withdrawing-room.

" says I. as he turned to leave the room. I saw her light in the old west turret out there. All this time I couldn't get to see how Emily was. I had my own candle in my hand. The rain and the wind will be blowing right through it to-night. which was the nearest way to my room. there was no light there. and the other gentlemen rose to follow him. because of course he hadn't locked the door. captain." says he. and no wonder. sir. there was no end of work. There was always more room than money in it. He started and made as if he searched his pockets all over for it. and lights came out. Samuel. and had enjoined the heathen woman not to say a word. and that was only after they had all gone to bed--the bride and bridegroom in the crimson chamber. only I mustn't try to tell you two things at once. So it was past twelve o'clock before I had a minute to myself. and some contrivance necessary. then?" says I. As often as I looked from my window. And what with the storm keeping Sir Giles and so many more that would have gone home that night. But I didn't like being without the key. I ought to have told you that I had not let her know anything about the wedding being that day. when all at once I heard such a shriek from the crimson chamber as I never heard in my life. for I won't answer one of them. whoever might wait.--'Now I had told the Indian woman that if anything happened. where they talked as gentlemen wouldn't do if the wine hadn't got uppermost.the little cellar-room. Well. and what with drink. but they wouldn't stop there till he came up again. she must put the candle on the right side of the window. And in a moment doors and doors were opened. of course. So I thought all was going on right. That's the bed you was born upon." says he. "I must have dropped it. he had such a scared look. It made me all creep like worms. for we were nothing too well provided with blankets and linen in the house. "but it's of no consequence. Samuel." said I. When I opened the room-door. Centlivre. throwing it on the table. "Where is it. to get them all bedded for the night. The candle in his lantern was out. When he came in at last. or wanted to see me. like a good deal more about the old place. and horror.'--It's all gone now. It's a good way down and back. turret and all. and that part of the house has a bad name. they said it was so cold. It wasn't exactly pleasant to have the door left open. you know." says he. But I believe the vile wretch did tell her. For I was expecting you some time soon. but no one answered. and I should always be looking out. everybody looking terrified. but there's a story about that turret afterwards. if she was worse. I can tell you. "You needn't ask me any questions. But there the blind continued drawn down as before. you can send William to look for it in the morning. "I'll just hang up the key again. and there was no water in the jug."--" By all means. 66 . I turned and ran along the corridor to reach the main stair. and nobody knew anything about when you might come. he looked as if he had got the fright I wished him. but it had been blown out as I came up the stair. You know the room where the bed is still. and would come directly. at last I crept quietly into Emily's room."--"Very well. I spoke. for I thought she might as well die without hearing about it. They all came into my room."--"Captain. It was some time before the captain returned. "There's your guinea. It can't be lost.

" I said."--"Hold your tongue. That was the present Mrs Oldcastle's father. And just about half-way down. I had not gone down more than three turnings. to this day. where I actually found the door standing open. But the lady looked dreadful. and what the cry was my aunt never would say. but though she was still warm. and. instead of drowning you in the well at the bottom?" 67 . there was my dear girl lying white and motionless. got my lantern. And it's my belief that that villain made her believe somehow or other that she was as good as married to him. I rushed down to my room. some of the gentlemen were awful to look upon. and never was well again. without waiting to be afraid. and I sped faster still. close by the vestry-door. I rushed to the bed. "Mrs Prendergast. when I thought I heard a cry. however. When I entered the room. She seemed to know though. and ran back to the west turret." "But why should the woman have left you on the stair. and wrapt you up in it." says he. As soon as I got a light. My sister and I soon got everything arranged. She was buried down there in the churchyard. my son Tom's wife among them. your poor mother was quite dead. she said. and died at the birth of her first child. "You would never have talked such nonsense if you had had the grace to have any of your own. to my great pleasure. And how ever you got over the state I found you in. made the best of my way with you through the snow to the lodge. but no baby was to be seen. there lay a bundle in a blanket. And no one could say a word against her." says I. and some conveniences in the place. But I caught you up as you was. There could be no doubt a baby had been born. sir. sir. For the breath wasn't out of you. and all of our family have been buried there ever since. and there being a kettle on the fire. I left them to settle it amongst them. and by that time you had begun to cry a little. and that he knew more about it than any one else did.' said my aunt. for there was no time to lose. Samuel. And the door of the crimson chamber opened too. And then I laid you before the fire. and saw the bundle in my arms. I did the best for you I could. bawling out to know what was the matter. which I did from Sir Giles's candle. ran to the underground stairs. as she said. I saw it all." "But what was that cry in the house?" I asked "And what became of the black woman?" "The woman was never seen again in our quarter. sir. There was no use in thinking about helping her. where William's wife lived. and then I got a blanket off my bed. "I didn't expect it of you. and the captain appeared in his dressing-gown. and left him out there in his shirt. but what could have become of the child? As if by a light in my mind. It was not so far off then as it is now. I can't think. though I'm certain. and.and sleep. and ran to my own room with you. But in the midst of my trouble the silly body did make me laugh when he opened the door to me. And with that I into the bedroom and shut the door. and I locked the door. though it well might have been. the storm being abated by this time. and your poor mother lying as sweet a corpse as ever angel saw. the cry did come from that room. that Captain and Mrs Crowfoot denied all knowledge of it. And before morning I had all made tidy. notwithstanding.

to crumble away. namely. But all she would ever say concerning it was. no doubt. that. But in the main. could give you an exact representation of any dialect he ever heard. which from that day began. that William Weir's wife should have a child. for she had no doubt about the woman's intention. But why should I tell such a story at all? I am willing to allow." I have tried a little to tell the story as he told it.' she would say. I think. 'The key was never found. with all the reports of the captain's money. But I am aware that I have succeeded very badly. "My aunt evidently thought there was some mystery about that as well as the other. none of it showed in this old place.--Well. the story is very little altered between us." 68 . You see I had to get a new one made. If it hadn't been a well-built place to begin with. who. sir. A REDUCTION TO THE COMMON AND PRESENT. I can tell you. I remember it as well as yesterday. I was brought up as her nephew. all behind was a garden with terraces. that I have very likely given it more room than it deserves in these poor Annals of mine. it wouldn't be standing now. I wish I had been able to give a little more of the form of the old man's speech. It certainly did not produce the effect I had hoped to gain from an interview with him. to begin with. and gay flowers.' And so you see. 'The lock was very hard to fit again.' And she pointed to where it hung on the wall. but the reason why I tell it at all is simply this. There's been little repair done upon it since then. for the matter of that. for I am not like my friend in London. But it's a very different place. "But surely you did not believe such an extravagant tale? The old man was in his dotage. 'But that doesn't look new now. as it were. a great deal better. Samuel. I have reported it correctly. as it came from the old man's lips. all I have been able to do is to show a difference from my own way of telling a story. For all this ancient tale tended to keep up the sense of distance between my day's experience at the Hall and the work I had to do amongst my cottagers and trades- people. sir. though people were surprised. at once. Indeed. I verily believe. and fruit trees. it interested me greatly. I believe if the old man was correct in representing his aunt's account. sir. it came very strangely upon that experience. to no end. Why. nay. For I don't remember yesterday at all. and nobody know she was expecting.

I will warrant you capable. I fell fast asleep over it at last. I left the old man with thanks for the kind reception he had given me. by the end of that time. and would ill bear analysis or record. though under different restraints. Indeed we can have no sense of security for ourselves except in the knowledge that we are striving up and away. To tell me there could not be a man so lost to shame. and walked home. whether a story is unlikely simply because it involves terrible things such as do not occur every day. that such things. Many and many such a story was fact in old times. gentle reader. my answer would have been a more triumphant one. that I felt impelled to record it in full. Yet. of child murder at least. I do not think the descent to Avernus is always easy. but it is always possible. if you--and let me suppose I address a lady--if you will give yourself up for thirty years to doing just whatever your lowest self and not your best self may like. are more easily hidden away out of sight. I am afraid I have given it too large a space in my narrative. For when was dotage consistently and imaginatively inventive? But why should I not believe the story? There are people who can never believe anything that is not (I do not say merely in accordance with their own character. as Captain Crowfoot. Had the old man been in his dotage. But it would not do. if to rectitude. I shut myself up in my study. is simply to talk nonsense. therefore they cannot take place in real life. for vice or virtue. They know nothing of human nature beyond their own immediate preference at the moment for port or sherry. "But the whole tale has such a melodramatic air!" That argument simply amounts to this: that. and since then has been so often recalled by circumstances and events. but) in accordance with the particular mood they may happen to be in at the time it is presented to them. as I said before. because such subjects are capable of being employed with great dramatic effect. and tried to read a sermon of Jeremy Taylor. and human nature being the same still. occurring monthly or yearly only. But ask any physician of your acquaintance. and therefore cannot be sinking nearer to the region of such awful possibilities. The fact is. And now I have done with it. Only it so forcibly reminded me at the time of the expression I could not understand upon Miss Oldcastle's face. and of being at the same time very badly represented. Indeed my thoughts were confused and troubled. equally horrible things are constantly in progress towards the windows of the newspapers. revolving many things with which I shall not detain the attention of my reader. Nay. which he was not. 69 . and woke refreshed.

CHAPTER VIII . WHAT I PREACHED. 70 .

than the best-read bishop without that one simple outgoing of his highest nature in the effort to do the will of Him who thus spoke. to seek consolation from such a source as the New Testament--if mayhap consolation for such a trouble was to be found there. And many that are first shall be last and the last first. All reading of the Book is not reading of the Word. smoothed the troubled waters of my spirit. without two thoughts about it. loving God-Man. I most rejoiced in their clearness because they mirrored Thy form--because Thou wert there to my vision--the one Ideal. But I have. and did die for Him. Know that man. Only that is simply saying nothing. a little to my surprise. not as the theologians show Thee. the perfect man. What I wanted to say was this: that. And until we understand the Gospel. Indeed. but as Thou showedst Thyself to them who report Thee to us. for all they wrote is about things beyond us. but in the Gospels. and would die for Him. I found out that I had known nothing at all about it. promised so freely to them that ask it--all the Epistles. and the Life. the God perfected as king of men by working out 71 . for Thou art the Way. what to me was that philosophical theology staring me in the face from out the sacred page? Ah! reader. The simplest woman who tries not to judge her neighbour. in the very simplicity of NO CHOICE--the Letters. I would go through fire and water to sit the last at Thy table in Thy kingdom. During the suffering which accompanied the disappointment at which I have already hinted. which tended rather to ignorance. who loved Him so utterly that by that very love they were lifted into the air of pure reason and right. as is too common with me. or not to be anxious for the morrow. Christ Jesus! Ah! Lord. and for the sake of which I had read those epistles. I say. I discovered that I could not read the Epistles at all. although I could make nothing of the epistles. the words of men who were full of Him. could see no possibility of consolation for my distress springing from them. I was able to walk upon them to go to Thee. been led away by my feelings from the path to the object before me. so that. I found it altogether different when I tried the Gospel once more. Until we love the Lord so as to do what He tells us. as I read. until we have His Spirit. I know NOW that it was Jesus Christ and not theology that filled the hearts of the men that wrote those epistles--Jesus Christ. The Gospels contain what the apostles preached--the Epistles what they wrote after the preaching. and wrote out of that fulness. but dare I say now I KNOW Thee!--But Thou art the Gospel. For I did not then care an atom for the theological discussions in which I had been interested before. Now that I was in trouble. And when those waters became clear. that I had only a certain surface-knowledge. and I have found Thee the Gospel. we have no right to have an opinion about what one of those men meant. Whereupon. the Truth. that Thy very presence in my thoughts. because it fostered the delusion that I did know. will better know what is best to know. it then took such a hold of me as it had never taken before. I did not think it inconsistent with the manly spirit in which I was resolved to endure it. of such men are to us a sealed book. the good news of Jesus Christ our brother-king-- until we understand Him. the living. whom I found--not in the Epistles. do not misunderstand me. For I found. even while the storm lasted.

And I tried to show them what His sayings meant.His Godhood in the work of man. and told them about the Baby. they would find more understanding from that than from any explanation I could give them. and where I could not understand them I just told them so. And I told them that if they would try to do their duty.--I took the story from the beginning. God must come and do it first Himself. So much I saw. trying to show them how He felt. and what His relation to His father and mother and brothers and sisters was. feel that it was a real baby-boy. that to serve God. because I knew that only as I did my duty would light go up in my heart. revealing that God and man are one. telling them that that hope was a sharp goad to my resolution. making me wise to understand the precious words of my Lord. He must be what He is--man in God. God in man--visibly before their eyes. of His sayings and doings. 72 . a man must be partaker of the Divine nature. and to the different kinds of people who came about Him. as far as I understood them myself. trying to make the fathers and mothers. or said so and so. or to the hearing of their ears. as far as one might dare to touch such sacred things. when I was once more in a position to help my fellows. of His refusals to say or do. And therefore. and all whose love for children supplied the lack of fatherhood and motherhood. and said I hoped for more light by and by to enable me to understand them. that to help men. And I followed the life on and on. when He did so and so. that for a man's work to be done thoroughly. what could I want to give them but that which was the very bread and water of life to me--the Saviour himself? And how was I to do this?--By trying to represent the man in all the simplicity of His life. driving me on to do my duty.

I. was. and millions besides. Not that I ever preached AT anybody. and the whole nature would be full of light. that. 73 . I could not help hoping that it was really because they liked to hear the Gospel. and gradually extending itself to my shirts and handkerchiefs. For Mr Brownrigg. called upon her every Monday morning. And I always made use of the knowledge I had of my individual hearers. to say what I thought would do them good. Clear the mind's eye. that sitting down with her was like going to bed. entered into his brain--I dare not say his mind or heart. she might be able to keep awake a little while at the beginning of the sermon. And the number of people that slept grew less and less. and had five minutes' chat with her as she stood at her wash-tub. without going to sleep. until. for she gave me no chance of interesting her on Sundays--going fast asleep the moment I stood up to preach. it was reduced to the churchwarden. by washing away the covetousness. I never got so far as that. I only sought to explain the principles of things in which I knew action of some sort was demanded from them. with the parable of the rich man with the little barn. With regard to him. Mr Brownrigg. stood so much all the week. beyond the pleasure she always manifested when I appeared on the Monday. therefore. would help them to see clearly what was the right thing to do in this and every such matter. the good news about Christ himself. till at last even Mrs Pearson was unable to find any fault with the poor old sleepy woman's work. poor thing. and thinking that if I could once get her interested in anything. as she told me. a decided improvement took place after a while. I am not sure that the sense of any one sentence I ever uttered. however. For I remembered how our Lord's sermon against covetousness. But it was not long either before my congregations began to improve. whatever might be the cause. if they wished to do what was right. I am more than happy to obey my Lord's command. and she never could do it. and not judge. and the right walk would speedily follow. that is. at last. beginning with my surplice and bands. And so I went on from Sunday to Sunday. who. had for its occasion the request of a man that our Lord would interfere to make his brother share with him. and an old washerwoman. and the only fact that showed me I had made any impression upon her. whereas all my linen had been very badly washed at first. wishing to make up to her for her drowsiness. yet gave both brothers a lesson such as. down to the day of his death. which He declining to do.

once possessed by one set of thoughts. saying how could the things be so good out of a poky shop like that? But I told her I did not care if the things were not quite as good. I could invent no way of reaching her yet. and was troubled at the sight. and to speak to her of religion would only rouse her scorn. it is to me one of the most precious seals of my ministry. I should have been greatly puzzled to account for his being such a sweet little fellow. would seem then to have wronged her. I thought. for it would be of more consequence to Catherine to have the custom. although I saw that any attempt at conversation was so distasteful to her. I could not at first tell. or to see anything except in the shadow of those thoughts. had I not known that he was a great deal with his aunt and grandfather. He only wanted to see a God in whom he could trust. and that this wrong operating on a nature similar to her father's. everything about her. I had no doubt. to get rid of it again. and I assure you. 74 . at first. both of which--pride and shame--prevented her from appearing where it was unnecessary. it could hardly be that she shrunk from being seen. where she must be at the beck of every one? I had several times gone and bought tobacco of her since that first occasion. of being unable. The man was no more an atheist than David was when he saw the wicked spreading like a green bay-tree. though what feeling wanted changing. than it would be to me to have the one lump of sugar I put in my tea of a morning one shade or even two shades whiter. But it was now getting very near Christmas. of which I have spoken once before. upon the apex of the gablet of the old tomb. however. Before long. instead of going to the larger shop in the place. for I had soon found that kindness to her boy was regarded rather in the light of an insult to her. had drawn all her mind to brood over it. A more attentive and devout worshipper was not in the congregation than that little boy. never was the attempt to be thoroughly honest towards a man better understood or more appreciated than my attempt was by the ATHEISTICAL carpenter. for how then could she have taken to keeping a shop. I could do nothing more than wait for a favourable opportunity. likewise. she had that peculiarity of strong. and make her feel as if God himself. as I was of hearing the wonderful playing of that husky old organ. at last. although a hitherto indomitable pride had upheld her to face it so far as was necessary to secure her independence. like that of a man beheaded for treason. undeveloped natures. had wronged her too. I was as sure of seeing the pale face of Thomas Weir perched. So I had contrived to keep up a kind of connexion with her. and I had told my housekeeper to buy whatever she could from her. likewise. The world itself. and there was one person whom I had never yet seen at church: that was Catherine Weir. the whole order of her life. that she was ashamed of her position in the eyes of society. at which Mrs Pearson had grumbled a good deal. Evidently. I continued to pay him a visit every now and then. and especially in church. I came to the conclusion that she had been wronged grievously. And if I succeeded at all in making him hope that there might be such a God. if there were a God. that it must do harm until something should have brought about a change in her feelings.

though restless. I will not mention what subjects I was upon at those times. as one might expect. I never saw her change countenance or even expression at anything--I mean in church. but grave. at all harmonise with the only notion of Judy they can yet by possibility have. whom I have just once mentioned I believe already. For Mrs Oldcastle. as if she felt something or other. 75 . But on these occasions she was not only attentive. because the mention of them would not. She was always quite well-behaved in church. I should like to say that on three several occasions before Christmas I had seen Judy look grave. in the minds of my readers. Before going on to speak of another of the most remarkable of my parishioners.

because I had not answered the question myself yet. The sexton coming out directly after. with large regular features. ever since he come to live at the Hall. "who came out just now?" "That is Mr Stoddart. "What IS he locking the door for?" I said to myself. you know." 76 ." he answered. to be sure. but more signs of time and careful keeping. a man whom no one could pass without looking after him. very neat and clean. But there was a stateliness in this man amounting almost to consciousness of dignity. I was struck by the action. casting a long shadow in the light of the declining sun. and large clear gray eyes. although of geniality. there was a little too much expression. His clothes were all of black. and yet it looked quite good. "Who is that gentleman. "That he do. Somehow I had not happened yet to inquire about him. without an atom of that sternness which one generally finds in the faces of those accustomed to command. He's played our organ for the last ten year. when I heard a door open. and which descended half- way down his breast. too." "What Hall?" "Why the Hall. that this must be the organist who played so remarkably. would have been as white as snow except for a slight yellowish tinge. His hair. The face seemed to express ALL that lay beneath it. "Is it he who plays the organ?" I asked. but something in the manner in which he bowed to me as he passed.--Oldcastle Hall." I asked. THE ORGANIST. I saw at once that it must have been a little door in the tower. After a moment it opened again. for I thought everybody was gone. to which razors were utterly strange. His eyebrows were still very dark. Tall. Indeed. It was somehow a too well-ordered face. They bore signs of use. out came. It shone with intelligence--a mild intelligence--no way suggestive of profundity. considering that the beard. On the afternoon of my second Sunday at Marshmallows. I was reading the inscription upon an old headstone. But I said nothing to him. supposing it led merely into the tower. and proceeding to lock the door. and I let him go unaccosted. sir. CHAPTER IX . I had never seen the door open. he had the carriage of a military man. I was standing in the churchyard. He had a large face. prevented me. and I was a little bewildered. as I saw when he lifted his hat. and strongly built. but old-fashioned and threadbare. and I had never inquired anything about it. was still wonderfully dark for the condition of his beard. all of which united to express an exceeding placidity or repose. stooping his tall form to get his gray head clear of the low archway. almost concealed from where I stood by a deep buttress. sir. only just touched with the frost of winter. to my surprise. and shut again before I could turn. I thought I had heard the name in the neighbourhood before. and marvellously well kept and smooth.--It flashed into my mind. I was not satisfied with the countenance. It was quite Greek in its outline. I would have spoken to him. and.

asthmatic. you know. and passing him in the churchyard with a courteous bow. For I had long ago determined to be no further guided by the rules of society than as they might aid in bringing about true neighbourliness. "That's very unkind of somebody. "But he doesn't want anybody to call upon him. if not of kindness! I could not help thinking all this strange. and what made me think of him then. I positively could not keep out. but how ever he come to live there I don't know. and if possible friendliness and friendship." I answered. I rang the doorbell at the Hall. and waiting. at least I do not remember any more just at this moment. I believe. I believe. I never thought of him again after going with Judy. I cannot in the least imagine. Wherever they might interfere with these. choosing to live with her! an entrancing performer upon an old. and left the house without having made a single inquiry after him. And yet--will the reader cease to accord me credit when I assert it?--although I had quite intended to inquire after him when I left the vicarage to go to the Hall. And then it dawned on my recollection that I had heard Judy mention her uncle Stoddart. he answered at length. of the old lady. as I simply continued gazing in return. as if he were picking and choosing his words: "Mr Stoddart never calls upon any one. lest he should think that the fact of his having omitted to call upon me had been the occasion of such an apparently pointed omission on my part. and inquired whether Mr Stoddart was at home. When." I do not think I shall have any more strange parishioners to present to my readers. the butler stared. sir. sir. It's no such binding connexion. but I resolved at once that I would call upon him the following week. sir. surely. I would disregard them--as far on the other hand as the disregard of them might tend to bring about the results I desired. as the reader will see. with some hesitation. and had even thought of him when sitting with Mrs Oldcastle. or somewheres. dry-throated church organ! taking no trouble to make the clergyman's acquaintance." he returned. Nor did I think of him again till just as I was passing under the outstretched neck of one of those serpivolants on the gate." I said." "I am not complaining of Mr Stoddart. He's been in the milintairy line. although his face was full of kindliness. carrying out this resolution. and. sir." 77 . "He's a brother-in-law. A military man from India! a brother-in-law of Mrs Oldcastle. And this one. sir. But how could he be her uncle? "Is he a relation of the family?" I asked. "But nobody calls upon Mr Stoddart. wishing to put the man at his ease. in the Ingies.

It had been taken about six months after her marriage. Certain blocks yielded. across a landing. up a narrow circular staircase at the end of the passage. The butler returned. But I soon found out my mistake. would be the readiest word to communicate what I mean. I think. and say that if it is not disagreeable to him." He had played an exquisite voluntary in the morning. radiated what I took to be a number of strong beams supporting a floor above. with the request that I would follow him. "How does Mr Stoddart reach those books?" I asked my conductor. and we were admitted to a chamber crowded with books from floor to ceiling. However. One particularly pleased me. And I learned afterwards that it was the portrait of Mrs Oldcastle's grandmother. From the centre of the ceiling. like Miss Oldcastle. and amused myself with looking at the portraits about me. Those radiating beams were in reality book-shelves. and about as many before her death. for our ancestors put the ceiling above the beams. instead of below them. I didn't know that. 78 . and gained in space if they lost in quietness. At the top of this I found myself in a small cylindrical lobby. Of course." I said. papered in blocks of stone. perhaps you will take him my card. It was lighted by a conical skylight. I thank you. if you please. and I will wait the result of you mission here in the hall. I presume. My conductor gave a push against the wall. In fact a door revolved on central pivots. as I followed the man into the hall. nobody has a right to intrude upon anybody. whence hung a globular lamp. and others came forward. "But won't you come up-stairs to mistress's room. then up a straight steep narrow stair. I learned afterwards that they had hung. "Ah! that's another matter. "Give my message exactly. I should like exceedingly to thank him in person for his sermon on the organ last Sunday. There was no door to be seen. arranged with wonderful neatness and solidity. while I take this to Mr Stoddart?" "No. nor. sir. For on each side of those I passed under I could see the gilded backs of books standing closely ranged together. "I came to call upon Mr Stoddart only." he answered. "I will try. in a long gallery connecting the main part of the house with that portion to which the turret referred to so often in Old Weir's story was attached. as we do. indeed remarkably." I answered. upon which two people could not pass without turning sideways and then squeezing. as I happen to have come without knowing his dislike to being visited. He led me up the grand staircase. It was the portrait of a young woman--very lovely--but with an expression both sad and--scared. and I sat down on a bench. I had never seen the connivance before. sir." The man withdrew. was it to be seen anywhere else. It was indubitably. through a passage at right angles to that which led to the old lady's room. till some thirty years before. that very Mrs Crowfoot mentioned in Weir's story.

After looking over the backs of a great many. before we say another word. "What a number of books you have!" I observed. the better pleased I am." There was no one in the room. visits which were to me utterly uninteresting. however. marbled." "And I have heard you play. it was full of books from floor to ceiling. I should have been yet longer a stranger to you.--I encourage it. much larger than the one I had passed through. He led me into an inner room. "You have found me at last." "Well. and waited for the rest of his word. Like the outer room. and I do not think he would explain it either. so you are no stranger to me either." 79 ." I replied. a nest of shelves revolved in front of me. he does not use a ladder." Upon this followed some desultory conversation. "Not a great many." he answered. "I must just say one word about this report of my unsociable disposition. which would allow me to distinguish whether the top edge was gilt. or uncut. notwithstanding. during which I took some observations of the room. and do not attempt to carry out any fancies of their own in regard to my personal freedom. But he has a holiday to-day. The next moment. "I am glad. Now try again. I considered myself to have a keen eye for the outside finish. but am very glad to see you. so long as they are satisfied with my own mode of shutting myself up. I think I could almost find you any one you wanted in the dark. for although I could not bind a book. till the butler told me. "His own man could tell you." I obeyed. I took one down. and I am glad to see you. harmoniously coloured. "You are right. I dare say. "But I think there is hardly one of them with which I have not some kind of personal acquaintance." I accepted the challenge.--Do sit down. sir. I have heard you read prayers. "that I did not know. I don't think you could tell the work from a tradesman's. I believe. I'll give you a guinea for the poor-box if you pick out three of my binding consecutively. and there Mr Stoddart stood with outstretched hand. or in the twilight at least. and I have heard you preach." he said. and presented it. But the ceiling was divided into compartments. however. The more people say I am mad." "You are no stranger to me. had I known it. examined a little further." whispered the butler. Mr Walton. your unwillingness to be intruded upon. "I was so bored with visits after I came. that I was only too glad when the unusual nature of some of my pursuits gave rise to the rumour that I was mad. red. for he says his master allows no interference with his contrivances." said Mr Stoddart. I have bound a couple of hundred or so of them myself. "I don't exactly know. for I fear. and I saw no entrance but that by which we had entered.

Again I was successful, although I doubted.
"And now for the last," he said.
Once more I was right.
"There is your guinea," said he, a little mortified.
"No," I answered. "I do not feel at liberty to take it, because, to
tell the truth, the last was a mere guess, nothing more."
Mr Stoddart looked relieved.
"You are more honest than most of your profession," he said.
"But I am far more pleased to offer you the guinea upon the smallest
doubt of your having won it."
"I have no claim upon it."
"What! Couldn't you swallow a small scruple like that for the
sake of the poor even? Well, I don't believe YOU could.--Oblige me by
taking this guinea for some one or other of your poor people. But I AM
glad you weren't sure of that last book. I am indeed."
I took the guinea, and put it in my purse.
"But," he resumed, "you won't do, Mr Walton. You're not fit for
your profession. You won't tell a lie for God's sake. You won't dodge
about a little to keep all right between Jove and his weary parishioners.
You won't cheat a little for the sake of the poor! You wouldn't even
bamboozle a little at a bazaar!"
"I should not like to boast of my principles," I answered; "for the
moment one does so, they become as the apples of Sodom. But
assuredly I would not favour a fiction to keep a world out of hell. The
hell that a lie would keep any man out of is doubtless the very best
place for him to go to. It is truth, yes, The Truth that saves the world."
"You are right, I daresay. You are more sure about it than I am
though."
"Let us agree where we can," I said, "first of all; and that will
make us able to disagree, where we must, without quarrelling."
"Good," he said--"Would you like to see my work shop?"
"Very much, indeed," I answered, heartily.
"Do you take any pleasure in applied mechanics?"
"I used to do so as a boy. But of course I have little time now for
anything of the sort."
"Ah! of course."
He pushed a compartment of books. It yielded, and we entered a
small closet. In another moment I found myself leaving the floor, and in
yet a moment we were on the floor of an upper room.
"What a nice way of getting up-stairs!" I said.
"There is no other way of getting to this room," answered Mr
Stoddart. "I built it myself; and there was no room for stairs. This is my
shop. In my library I only read my favourite books. Here I read anything
I want to read; write anything I want to write; bind my books; invent
machines; and amuse myself generally. Take a chair."
I obeyed, and began to look about me.

80

The room had many books in detached book-cases. There were
various benches against the walls between,--one a bookbinder's;
another a carpenter's; a third had a turning-lathe; a fourth had an iron
vice fixed on it, and was evidently used for working in metal. Besides
these, for it was a large room, there were several tables with chemical
apparatus upon them, Florence-flasks, retorts, sand-baths, and such
like; while in a corner stood a furnace.
"What an accumulation of ways and means you have about you!"
I said; "and all, apparently, to different ends."
"All to the same end, if my object were understood."
"I presume I must ask no questions as to that object?"
"It would take time to explain. I have theories of education. I
think a man has to educate himself into harmony. Therefore he must
open every possible window by which the influences of the All may come
in upon him. I do not think any man complete without a perfect
development of his mechanical faculties, for instance, and I encourage
them to develop themselves into such windows."
"I do not object to your theory, provided you do not put it
forward as a perfect scheme of human life. If you did, I should have
some questions to ask you about it, lest I should misunderstand you."
He smiled what I took for a self-satisfied smile. There was
nothing offensive in it, but it left me without anything to reply to. No
embarrassment followed, however, for a rustling motion in the room the
same instant attracted my attention, and I saw, to my surprise, and I
must confess, a little to my confusion, Miss Oldcastle. She was seated in
a corner, reading from a quarto lying upon her knees.
"Oh! you didn't know my niece was here? To tell the truth, I
forgot her when I brought you up, else I would have introduced you."
"That is not necessary, uncle," said Miss Oldcastle, closing her
book.
I was by her instantly. She slipped the quarto from her knee,
and took my offered hand.
"Are you fond of old books?" I said, not having anything better
to say.
"Some old books," she answered.
"May I ask what book you were reading?"
"I will answer you--under protest," she said, with a smile.
"I withdraw the question at once," I returned.
"I will answer it notwithstanding. It is a volume of Jacob
Behmen."
"Do you understand him?"
"Yes. Don't you?"
"Well, I have made but little attempt," I answered. "Indeed, it
was only as I passed through London last that I bought his works; and I
am sorry to find that one of the plates is missing from my copy."
"Which plate is it? It is not very easy, I understand, to procure a
perfect copy. One of my uncle's copies has no two volumes bound alike.
Each must have belonged to a different set."

81

"I can't tell you what the plate is. But there are only three of
those very curious unfolding ones in my third volume, and there should
be four."
"I do not think so. Indeed, I am sure you are wrong."
"I am glad to hear it--though to be glad that the world does not
possess what I thought I only was deprived of, is selfishness, cover it
over as one may with the fiction of a perfect copy."
"I don't know," she returned, without any response to what I
said. "I should always like things perfect myself."
"Doubtless," I answered; and thought it better to try another
direction.
"How is Mrs Oldcastle?" I asked, feeling in its turn the reproach
of hypocrisy; for though I could have suffered, I hope, in my person and
goods and reputation, to make that woman other than she was, I could
not say that I cared one atom whether she was in health or not. Possibly
I should have preferred the latter member of the alternative; for the
suffering of the lower nature is as a fire that drives the higher nature
upwards. So I felt rather hypocritical when I asked Miss Oldcastle after
her.
"Quite well, thank you," she answered, in a tone of indifference,
which implied either that she saw through me, or shared in my
indifference. I could not tell which.
"And how is Miss Judy?" I inquired.
"A little savage, as usual."
"Not the worse for her wetting, I hope."
"Oh! dear no. There never was health to equal that child's. It
belongs to her savage nature."
"I wish some of us were more of savages, then," I returned; for
I saw signs of exhaustion in her eyes which moved my sympathy.
"You don't mean me, Mr Walton, I hope. For if you do, I assure
you your interest is quite thrown away. Uncle will tell you I am as strong
as an elephant."
But here came a slight elevation of her person; and a shadow at
the same moment passed over her face. I saw that she felt she ought
not to have allowed herself to become the subject of conversation.
Meantime her uncle was busy at one of his benches filing away
at a piece of brass fixed in the vice. He had thick gloves on. And, indeed,
it had puzzled me before to think how he could have so many kinds of
work, and yet keep his hands so smooth and white as they were. I could
not help thinking the results could hardly be of the most useful
description if they were all accomplished without some loss of whiteness
and smoothness in the process. Even the feet that keep the garments
clean must be washed themselves in the end.
When I glanced away from Miss Oldcastle in the embarrassment
produced by the repulsion of her last manner, I saw Judy in the room. At
the same moment Miss Oldcastle rose.
"What is the matter, Judy?" she said.
"Grannie wants you," said Judy.

82

Miss Oldcastle left the room, and Judy turned to me. "How do
you do, Mr Walton?" she said.
"Quite well, thank you, Judy," I answered. "Your uncle admits
you to his workshop, then?"
"Yes, indeed. He would feel rather dull, sometimes, without me.
Wouldn't you, Uncle Stoddart?"
"Just as the horses in the field would feel dull without the gad-
fly, Judy," said Mr Stoddart, laughing.
Judy, however, did not choose to receive the laugh as a scholium
explanatory of the remark, and was gone in a moment, leaving Mr
Stoddart and myself alone. I must say he looked a little troubled at the
precipitate retreat of the damsel; but he recovered himself with a smile,
and said to me,
"I wonder what speech I shall make next to drive you away, Mr
Walton."
"I am not so easily got rid of, Mr Stoddart," I answered. "And as
for taking offence, I don't like it, and therefore I never take it. But tell
me what you are doing now."
"I have been working for some time at an attempt after a
perpetual motion, but, I must confess, more from a metaphysical or
logical point of view than a mechanical one."
Here he took a drawing from a shelf, explanatory of his plan.
"You see," he said, "here is a top made of platinum, the heaviest
of metals, except iridium--which it would be impossible to procure
enough of, and which would be difficult to work into the proper shape. It
is surrounded you will observe, by an air-tight receiver, communicating
by this tube with a powerful air-pump. The plate upon which the point of
the top rests and revolves is a diamond; and I ought to have mentioned
that the peg of the top is a diamond likewise. This is, of course, for the
sake of reducing the friction. By this apparatus communicating with the
top, through the receiver, I set the top in motion--after exhausting the
air as far as possible. Still there is the difficulty of the friction of the
diamond point upon the diamond plate, which must ultimately occasion
repose. To obviate this, I have constructed here, underneath, a small
steam-engine which shall cause the diamond plate to revolve at
precisely the same rate of speed as the top itself. This, of course, will
prevent all friction."
"Not that with the unavoidable remnant of air, however," I
ventured to suggest.
"That is just my weak point," he answered. "But that will be so
very small!"
"Yes; but enough to deprive the top of PERPETUAL motion."
"But suppose I could get over that difficulty, would the
contrivance have a right to the name of a perpetual motion? For you
observe that the steam-engine below would not be the cause of the
motion. That comes from above, here, and is withdrawn, finally
withdrawn."

83

"I understand perfectly," I answered. "At least, I think I do. But
I return the question to you: Is a motion which, although not caused, is
ENABLED by another motion, worthy of the name of a perpetual motion;
seeing the perpetuity of motion has not to do merely with time, but with
the indwelling of self-generative power--renewing itself constantly with
the process of exhaustion?"
He threw down his file on the bench.
"I fear you are right," he said. "But you will allow it would have
made a very pretty machine."
"Pretty, I will allow," I answered, "as distinguished from
beautiful. For I can never dissociate beauty from use."
"You say that! with all the poetic things you say in your
sermons! For I am a sharp listener, and none the less such that you do
not see me. I have a loophole for seeing you. And I flatter myself,
therefore, I am the only person in the congregation on a level with you
in respect of balancing advantages. I cannot contradict you, and you
cannot address me."
"Do you mean, then, that whatever is poetical is useless?" I
asked.
"Do you assert that whatever is useful is beautiful?" he retorted.
"A full reply to your question would need a ream of paper and a
quarter of quills," I answered; "but I think I may venture so far as to say
that whatever subserves a noble end must in itself be beautiful."
"Then a gallows must be beautiful because it subserves the
noble end of ridding the world of malefactors?" he returned, promptly.
I had to think for a moment before I could reply.
"I do not see anything noble in the end," I answered.
"If the machine got rid of malefaction, it would, indeed, have a
noble end. But if it only compels it to move on, as a constable does--
from this world into another--I do not, I say, see anything so noble in
that end. The gallows cannot be beautiful."
"Ah, I see. You don't approve of capital punishments."
"I do not say that. An inevitable necessity is something very
different from a noble end. To cure the diseased mind is the noblest of
ends; to make the sinner forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his
thoughts, the loftiest of designs; but to punish him for being wrong,
however necessary it may be for others, cannot, if dissociated from the
object of bringing good out of evil, be called in any sense a NOBLE end. I
think now, however, it would be but fair in you to give me some answer
to my question. Do you think the poetic useless?"
"I think it is very like my machine. It may exercise the faculties
without subserving any immediate progress."
"It is so difficult to get out of the region of the poetic, that I
cannot think it other than useful: it is so widespread. The useless could
hardly be so nearly universal. But I should like to ask you another
question: What is the immediate effect of anything poetic upon your
mind?"
"Pleasure," he answered.
"And is pleasure good or bad?"

84

"Sometimes the one, sometimes the other."
"In itself?"
"I should say so."
"I should not."
"Are you not, then, by your very profession, more or less an
enemy of pleasure?"
"On the contrary, I believe that pleasure is good, and does good,
and urges to good. CARE is the evil thing."
"Strange doctrine for a clergyman."
"Now, do not misunderstand me, Mr Stoddart. That might not
hurt you, but it would distress me. Pleasure, obtained by wrong, is
poison and horror. But it is not the pleasure that hurts, it is the wrong
that is in it that hurts; the pleasure hurts only as it leads to more wrong.
I almost think myself, that if you could make everybody happy, half the
evil would vanish from the earth."
"But you believe in God?"
"I hope in God I do."
"How can you then think that He would not destroy evil at such a
cheap and pleasant rate."
"Because He wants to destroy ALL the evil, not the half of it; and
destroy it so that it shall not grow again; which it would be sure to do
very soon if it had no antidote but happiness. As soon as men got used
to happiness, they would begin to sin again, and so lose it all. But care is
distrust. I wonder now if ever there was a man who did his duty, and
TOOK NO THOUGHT. I wish I could get the testimony of such a man.
Has anybody actually tried the plan?"
But here I saw that I was not taking Mr Stoddart with me (as the
old phrase was). The reason I supposed to be, that he had never been
troubled with much care. But there remained the question, whether he
trusted in God or the Bank?
I went back to the original question.
"But I should be very sorry you should think, that to give
pleasure was my object in saying poetic things in the pulpit. If I do so, it
is because true things come to me in their natural garments of poetic
forms. What you call the POETIC is only the outer beauty that belongs to
all inner or spiritual beauty--just as a lovely face--mind, I say LOVELY,
not PRETTY, not HANDSOME--is the outward and visible presence of a
lovely mind. Therefore, saying I cannot dissociate beauty from use, I am
free to say as many poetic things--though, mind, I don't claim them:
you attribute them to me--as shall be of the highest use, namely, to
embody and reveal the true. But a machine has material use for its end.
The most grotesque machine I ever saw that DID something, I felt to be
in its own kind beautiful; as God called many fierce and grotesque things
good when He made the world--good for their good end. But your
machine does nothing more than raise the metaphysical doubt and
question, whether it can with propriety be called a perpetual motion or
not?"

85

" 86 . therefore. and so leave it to work its own way. that if he has spoken the evil thing it may return to him void: that is a defeat he may well pray for. "You put plenty of poetry yourself into that voluntary you played last Sunday. as it were: so I said. let him be thankful to me for considering such a treatise out of place here." "Not at all. not one of which he is willing to lose. the unfortunate question being the ball. which. But I could not bear to run away with the last word. must just resemble a game at football. I don't like argument." "Do you think doing a good turn again is cancelling an obligation? I don't think an obligation can ever be RETURNED in the sense of being got rid of. did you?" "More than I can tell you. In fact. it is in virtue of some good mingled with the evil. to attend at the same time to everything his antagonist says or suggests. I would never argue at all. it must work in the right mind. To succeed in the wrong is the most dreadful punishment to a man who. In fact. that he may do him justice. and not in the smallest degree in virtue of the evil. I will only say in brief. You liked it. and the numerous and sometimes conflicting thoughts which arise in each mind forming the two parties whose energies are spent in a succession of kicks. If I had my way. That is better than my fugue by a good deal. low and high. however simply conducted and honourable. Instinct through all proportions. is honest.'" "That is wonderfully fine.--Shall I tell you what I was thinking of while playing that fugue?" "I should like much to hear. I thought it was time for me to take my leave. You have cancelled the obligation. To this Mr Stoddart making no reply. if it be the right way. I would spend my energy in setting forth what I believe--as like itself as I could represent it. that I know there was no satisfactory following out of an argument on either side in the passage of words I have just given." "Do you know those two lines of Milton in which he describes such a performance on the organ?" "No. Can you repeat them?" "'His volant touch. if he is not yet interested in such questions. an argument. Even the closest reasoner finds it next to impossible to attend to all the suggestions in his own mind. Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue. while no one who loves the truth can be other than anxious.-- for Wisdom is justified of her children. and I don't care for the victory. and to keep an even course towards his goal--each having the opposite goal in view. I take the opportunity of the break in our conversation to say to my readers. Thank you. I am so much obliged to you for it!" "Oh! that fugue. But I beg to assure my reader I could write a long treatise on the matter between Mr Stoddart and myself. But I am being hypercritical." "I am very glad. and that nothing evil can be other than ugly. that I believe with all my heart that the true is the beautiful. in the main. If it seems not so.

vain hope. may God give me strength to follow till I die. that I never doubted it was hope you meant to express. while you were preaching. "for I felt so full of hope while you played. but he went on without heeding me. too?" I asked. Only I will venture to say this. did not heed the undertones of disappointment. is that sufficient ground for his making any further assertion than that he has not found it?" "No. when you ought to open both eyes and lift up your head. and folding her wings closer and closer over and around him as he works on at his day's labour. I would put some faith in his best nature." I returned. a half-smile on his face. when he does not think he is finding any. some reaching on tiptoe over the heads of their neighbours. Or a man may be finding some truth which is feeding his soul. retiring hopeless from the chase. You know the Fairy Queen. and said no more." "I am no musician. Just so it is in life. "Suppose. You may be using the microscope. and in sympathy with it. and going down to the grave empty-handed as they came. "I had been thinking." "And empty-hearted." "Suppose. "that nobody has found the truth." "Very pretty. with arms outstretched in all directions. being full of the main expression. now following this. to lay hold upon the truth." I went on. that it is not by any agony of the intellect that I expect to discover her. some clasping vacancy to their bosoms." Mr Stoddart sat drumming silently with his fingers. and his eyes raised at an angle of forty-five degrees. following where nothing was to be seen. ever believing they were on the point of laying hold upon her. Shall God create hunger and no food? But possibly a man may be looking the wrong way for it. "And I saw a vision of multitudes following. But I see a grave man tilling the ground in peace." said Mr Stoddart. and some with hanging heads. and how much longer still without ever seeing her face. And you. and hands clasped behind their backs. or the sighs of those who turned their backs on the chase. "that a person knows that he has not laid hold on the truth. But I was not going to be ashamed therefore. But if he has tried hard and has not found ANYTHING that he can say is true. For my part." "So I do not doubt I did. you know--without learning to believe in her. he cannot help thinking that most likely there is no such thing. 87 ." "Strange!" I said. and the form of Truth standing behind him. is that sufficient ground for saying that nobody ever will find it? or that there is no such thing as truth to be found? Are the ages so nearly done that no chance yet remains? Surely if God has made us to desire the truth. I felt that the enthusiasm with which I had spoken was thrown away upon him. now following that." I said. Think how long the Redcross Knight travelled with the Lady Truth--Una. "to give you a musical counter to your picture. He has got some truth to cast into the gulf of that desire. for the multitude was full of hope. of the many fancies men had worshipped for the truth.

thank you. I have seen Him." "Thank you kindly. and does the truth. mind you come to me.'" (He to whom the eternal Word speaks. who knows." "You oughtn't to be troubled with our small affairs. yea. where I lifted the latch. But can I be of any use?" 88 . as if he. and. "What is the matter. and walked in." I said. and held out my hand to Mr Stoddart. while the mill went on hopping behind him." I said. I mean. "But does not. sir. I passed the mill without looking in at the door. "I don't want to know. "and she looked unhappy." "I don't want to pry into your affairs. that thinks me.) I rose. so I came on to hear what was the matter. that God is. and went on to the cottage. the young miller was standing in the door with his eyes fixed on the ground. though they welcomed me none the less kindly. and burst out crying. For in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He rose likewise. and I am both content and unsatisfied. would be relieved by telling me. and feels.Christ Jesus. sir. "If the parson wants to know. I met Jane Rogers coming back from the village." he said." said Mrs. Rogers. but if you think I can be of any use to you. my Lord. sir. gently lowering his eyes upon mine after a moment's pause--"does not your choice of a profession imply that you have not to give chase to a fleeting phantom? Do you not profess to have." "Something is the matter with you. then? Is your----" "Nothing's the matter with nobody. and ringing the bell.-- those. I went to her parents' cottage. walked on with her basket. and both looked troubled. is set free from a press of opinions. "Has he been behaving ill to Jane?" thought I. why. "if you don't want to tell me. As I came near the mill. I stopped and spoke to her. as if he had not seen me. not the truth that I can THINK. But I have seen that which is eternally beyond her: the ideal in the real. and hold. the living truth. that God has thought. and took it kindly. As I approached the gate. the truth BEING true to itself and to God and to man-. he turned. sir. the parson must be told. conducted me to the room below." "Yes. of the abstract truth of which you speak. dropping a courtesy." said Jane. Both the old people were there." answered Jane. but the truth that thinks itself. and therefore teach the truth?" "I profess only to have caught glimpses of her white garments. "Nothing amiss at home. Jane?" I said. ille a multis opinionibus expeditur. But when he caught sight of me. But I'm quite well. as I was in the habit of doing. "No. and went in. committed me to the care of the butler. smiling cheerily. Thomas a Kempis says: 'Cui aeternum Verbum loquitur." said Old Rogers. at least. As he evidently wished to avoid me. "I met Jane. Her eyes were very red.

"No more she can be. and never. sir. "I don't think you can. Isn't he now?" 89 . whose drift was not yet evident. But neither on 'em seems to see the comfort of it somehow. And many was the time that want had come in at her door." were amongst her favourite sayings. and cleave to his wife. The Lord won't let us rot before we're ripe. 'cept he leaves his father for her. and that the difficulty arose from his always acting upon one or two of the plainest principles of truth and right." said Rogers." &c. That I be sure on. it's rather a good chance. sir." "But. and the first thing it always did was to clip the wings of Love. old 'oman. very nearly ripe now. I think. in the main.--leastways." &c. or over serious. although not one of them was supported by her own experience. and make him less flighty. that Master Brownrigg and his son has come to words about our Jane." "And what'll become of them then. Now. "I am sorry to say." "But she ain't his wife yet. Old Rogers. out of the mill he goes. sir. and no mill?" "To grind 'em in. had once thought of repenting of it. nay. and more tender and serviceable. good woman--for the bad. and it's not agreeable to have folk's daughter quarrelled over in that way. anyhow. anyhow. I believe." I said. wife?" "Medlar-like.--"When want comes in at the door love flies out at the window. Rogers. I doubt. For instance. but it looks bad now." replied his wife. and so I told Jane. But the New Testament do say a man shall leave father and mother." Now I was pretty sure that Rogers's conduct was simple consistency. Old Rogers. sir. "But as far as I can see. But how will it be when the children comes. "yet here we be. old 'oman?" Mrs Rogers turned to me. I don't know. he's in the right. For the father he tells the son that if ever he hear of him saying one word to our Jane. "A bird in the hand. old leaven of the Pharisees could not rise much in her somehow--was always reminding him of certain precepts of behaviour to the oblivion of principles. she had married in haste herself. "Nay. He either takes me up short with a sermon. or he laughs me out of countenance that I don't know where to look. who was listening with real interest. and much amusement. Thou knows how to talk. "I wish you would speak a word to Old Rogers. I'm afraid not. to see what the young fellow's made of. "What'll be the upshot on it. although she had had far more than the requisite leisure for doing so. So I could not even pretend to read her husband a lecture.--"Marry in haste. quoting a more humorous than refined proverb. He never will speak as he's spoken to." said the old woman. without the mill?" "You and me never had no mill. "He's a curious man. old 'oman. whereas his wife. as sure as his name's Dick." said Mrs Rogers to her husband.--ain't us. Don't 'e say so. He's always over merry.--rotten before we're ripe. So I tells my old 'oman here." said Old Rogers. it's ail very well to talk.

She allus was awk'ard in stays. sir. When she's said her say." "How would you have liked such a Godsend. if she is. sir." "But your daughter thinks about him much in the same way as you did about this dear old man here when he was young. Dick's not my Rogers. It won't do to starve. The fact is." "But she hasn't got her at home now. sir. they may as well wait a bit. she would find she was chartered for another port. Mrs. She wants 'em to give it up. I always liked the look of him. 90 . I see nothing in Dick Brownrigg. round she comes in the wind like a bird. she would. and have a little chat with him. and he's ready. it's right." "There's a good old man to stick up for your old wife! Still." "But young people may be right sometimes." "I am very glad to hear such a good account of him. my old 'oman here. and old people may be wrong sometimes." "What does the young man say to it?" "Why. you know." said the old man." "Well." "That's just what I want my old 'oman to see. I shall look in. I daresay." "But why talk of starving?" I said. The helm must either be to starboard or port. yes. ought I not rather to say?--ordinary and commonplace confusion of ideas! "I don't think." "I can't be wrong about Rogers. when you were going to be married to your sailor here? What would you have done?" "Why. Whereas. And if there's a difficulty in the way of Jane's marriage. Mrs Rogers. But then. "Oh. whatever he liked to be sure. It would be a pity to anger the old gentleman." Strange confusion--or. and I can't get it into her. I say." "Young people may be in the wrong. But a body may go too far that way. he says. like a man-o'-war with her convoy. though--leastways after a bit of warning. sir. but she never missed them yet. she don't want to lose the girl." "Don't you trouble yourself about my old 'oman. sir. sir. why. Rogers. you see. sir. Rogers and me's not so young as we once was. and the consequences a follerin' at her heels. "any one can go too far in the right way. like a man. you see. If a thing's right." "No. and wait for better times." "She can have her when she wants her. following me out of the house." I said. why. I take it as a Godsend. wrong it is. he can work for her as well's the mill. Good morning. "Can't Dick work? Who could think of starting that nonsense?" "Why. but you may be wrong about Dick. and we're likely to be growing older every day. and if a thing's wrong. I think he's always right about the rights of the thing." "I 'll see you across the stream. if she was married.

sir." he resumed. and was now making the best of its speed back to its mother-ocean." "You wouldn't mind if I were to try?" "No. as my wife says. And I can't altogether blame her. I didn't think you saw me. but if I was Dick. But Jane doesn't like to go against her mother." "But supposing I hadn't?--But I won't tease you. and do as is right. as gloomily as the brothers of Joseph must have tied their sacks after his silver cup had been found. for I believe there's a bit of pride in it. jumped across it. You can't make matters worse. So you may choose your opportunity wrong. sir. But don't 'e think hard of my wife. sir. can't you?" "That I can. I bade him good day. if I find a fitting opportunity. sir. but I may try it. he should act like a man. It can make no difference. Richard?" I said." "I understand you quite. that is. you know. sir. sir. It's no use talking to him. as I passed half-an-hour ago. No more can you make them any better. "You see. because he's above us. I know what I would do. that when a man loves a woman. But it's all the same." "What are you going to do. And isn't that the Lord's way? And can't He give them what's good for them. surely. sir. He never laid her under any such obligation. as if it was scared at the labour it had been compelled to go through. I'm sure I can't think how she should side with my father against both of us. I'm sure. Can I do anything for you?" "No. She's afeard of bein' supposed to catch at Richard Brownrigg. You can trust me to have a little chat with him. where Richard was tying the mouth of a sack. then?" "I would let him do his worst. to tell sad tales of a world where every little brook must do some work ere it gets back to its rest. He never hears a word anybody says. and has told her so. sir. sir." "I don't say I shall talk to him. He never hears a word you say o' Sundays. I wouldn't like to anger the old gentleman. sir. It's no use talking to him. You can't move my father. when he's in a good temper." "He's always worse--more obstinate. but with the things themselves. and I'm very much of your mind." 91 . It's the right way. and went into the mill. "Why did you turn away from me. only we ain't got to do with the look o' things. "I'm always afeard of taking things out of the Lord's hands. Mayhap they won't love each other the less in the end if Dick has a little bit of the hard work that many a man that the Lord loved none the less has had before him." Here we had come to the boundary of his garden--the busy stream that ran away. cheerily. as soon as we were outside. He won't even believe the Mark Lane Express about the price of corn. "I beg your pardon. I know all about it.

"There may be more ways than one of accounting for that. You
must mind, however, and not be too hard upon your father. You're quite
right in holding fast to the girl; but mind that vexation does not make
you unjust."
"I wish my mother were alive. She was the only one that ever
could manage him. How she contrived to do it nobody could think; but
manage him she did, somehow or other. There's not a husk of use in
talking to HIM."
"I daresay he prides himself on not being moved by talk. But has
he ever had a chance of knowing Jane--of seeing what kind of a girl she
is?"
"He's seen her over and over."
"But seeing isn't always believing."
"It certainly isn't with him."
"If he could only know her! But don't you be too hard upon him.
And don't do anything in a hurry. Give him a little time, you know. Mrs
Rogers won't interfere between you and Jane, I am pretty sure. But
don't push matters till we see. Good-bye."
"Good-bye, and thank you kindly, sir.--Ain't I to see Jane in the
meantime?"
"If I were you, I would make no difference. See her as often as
you used, which I suppose was as often as you could. I don't think, I
say, that her mother will interfere. Her father is all on your side."
I called on Mr Brownrigg; but, as his son had forewarned me, I
could make nothing of him. He didn't see, when the mill was his
property, and Dick was his son, why he shouldn't have his way with
them. And he was going to have his way with them. His son might marry
any lady in the land; and he wasn't going to throw himself away that
way.
I will not weary my readers with the conversation we had
together. All my missiles of argument were lost as it were in a bank of
mud, the weight and resistance of which they only increased. My
experience in the attempt, however, did a little to reconcile me to his
going to sleep in church; for I saw that it could make little difference
whether he was asleep or awake. He, and not Mr. Stoddart in his organ
sentry-box, was the only person whom it was absolutely impossible to
preach to. You might preach AT him; but TO him?--no.

92

CHAPTER X

. MY CHRISTMAS PARTY.
As Christmas Day drew nearer and nearer, my heart glowed with the
more gladness; and the question came more and more pressingly
--Could I not do something to make it more really a holiday of the
Church for my parishioners? That most of them would have a little more
enjoyment on it than they had had all the year through, I had ground to
hope; but I wanted to connect this gladness--in their minds, I mean, for
who could dissever them in fact?--with its source, the love of God, that
love manifested unto men in the birth of the Human Babe, the Son of
Man. But I would not interfere with the Christmas Day at home. I
resolved to invite as many of my parishioners as would come, to spend
Christmas Eve at the Vicarage. I therefore had a notice to that purport
affixed to the church door; and resolved to send out no personal
invitations whatever, so that I might not give offence by accidental
omission. The only person thrown into perplexity by this mode of
proceeding was Mrs. Pearson.
"How many am I to provide for, sir?" she said, with an injured
air.
"For as many as you ever saw in church at one time," I said.
"And if there should be too much, why so much the better. It can go to
make Christmas Day the merrier at some of the poorer houses."
She looked discomposed, for she was not of an easy temper. But
she never ACTED from her temper; she only LOOKED or SPOKE from it.
"I shall want help," she said, at length.
"As much as you like, Mrs. Pearson. I can trust you entirely."
Her face brightened; and the end showed that I had not trusted
her amiss.
I was a little anxious about the result of the invitation--partly as
indicating the amount of confidence my people placed in me. But
although no one said a word to me about it beforehand except Old
Rogers, as soon as the hour arrived, the people began to come. And the
first I welcomed was Mr. Brownrigg.

93

I had had all the rooms on the ground-floor prepared for their
reception. Tables of provision were set out in every one of them. My
visitors had tea or coffee, with plenty of bread and butter, when they
arrived; and the more solid supplies were reserved for a later part of the
evening. I soon found myself with enough to do. But before long, I had a
very efficient staff. For after having had occasion, once or twice, to
mention something of my plans for the evening, I found my labours
gradually diminish, and yet everything seemed to go right; the fact
being that good Mr Boulderstone, in one part, had cast himself into the
middle of the flood, and stood there immovable both in face and person,
turning its waters into the right channel, namely, towards the barn,
which I had fitted up for their reception in a body; while in another
quarter, namely, in the barn, Dr Duncan was doing his best, and that
was simply something first-rate, to entertain the people till all should be
ready. From a kind of instinct these gentlemen had taken upon them to
be my staff, almost without knowing it, and very grateful I was. I found,
too, that they soon gathered some of the young and more active spirits
about them, whom they employed in various ways for the good of the
community.
When I came in and saw the goodly assemblage, for I had been
busy receiving them in the house, I could not help rejoicing that my
predecessor had been so fond of farming that he had rented land in the
neighbourhood of the vicarage, and built this large barn, of which I could
make a hall to entertain my friends. The night was frosty--the stars
shining brilliantly overhead--so that, especially for country people, there
was little danger in the short passage to be made to it from the house.
But, if necessary, I resolved to have a covered-way built before next
time. For how can a man be THE PERSON of a parish, if he never
entertains his parishioners? And really, though it was lighted only with
candles round the walls, and I had not been able to do much for the
decoration of the place, I thought it looked very well, and my heart was
glad that Christmas Eve--just as if the Babe had been coming again to
us that same night. And is He not always coming to us afresh in every
childlike feeling that awakes in the hearts of His people?

94

I walked about amongst them, greeting them, and greeted
everywhere in turn with kind smiles and hearty shakes of the hand. As
often as I paused in my communications for a moment, it was amusing
to watch Mr. Boulderstone's honest, though awkward endeavours to be
at ease with his inferiors; but Dr Duncan was just a sight worth seeing.
Very tall and very stately, he was talking now to this old man, now to
that young woman, and every face glistened towards which he turned.
There was no condescension about him. He was as polite and courteous
to one as to another, and the smile that every now and then lighted up
his old face, was genuine and sympathetic. No one could have known by
his behaviour that he was not at court. And I thought--Surely even the
contact with such a man will do something to refine the taste of my
people. I felt more certain than ever that a free mingling of all classes
would do more than anything else towards binding us all into a wise
patriotic nation; would tend to keep down that foolish emulation which
makes one class ape another from afar, like Ben Jonson's Fungoso, "still
lighting short a suit;" would refine the roughness of the rude, and enable
the polished to see with what safety his just share in public matters
might be committed into the hands of the honest workman. If we could
once leave it to each other to give what honour is due; knowing that
honour demanded is as worthless as insult undeserved is hurtless! What
has one to do to honour himself? That is and can be no honour. When
one has learned to seek the honour that cometh from God only, he will
take the withholding of the honour that comes from men very quietly
indeed.
The only thing that disappointed me was, that there was no one
there to represent Oldcastle Hall. But how could I have everything a
success at once!--And Catherine Weir was likewise absent.
After we had spent a while in pleasant talk, and when I thought
nearly all were with us, I got up on a chair at the end of the barn, and
said:--

95

"Kind friends,--I am very grateful to you for honouring my
invitation as you have done. Permit me to hope that this meeting will be
the first of many, and that from it may grow the yearly custom in this
parish of gathering in love and friendship upon Christmas Eve. When
God comes to man, man looks round for his neighbour. When man
departed from God in the Garden of Eden, the only man in the world
ceased to be the friend of the only woman in the world; and, instead of
seeking to bear her burden, became her accuser to God, in whom he
saw only the Judge, unable to perceive that the Infinite love of the
Father had come to punish him in tenderness and grace. But when God
in Jesus comes back to men, brothers and sisters spread forth their arms
to embrace each other, and so to embrace Him. This is, when He is born
again in our souls. For, dear friends, what we all need is just to become
little children like Him; to cease to be careful about many things, and
trust in Him, seeking only that He should rule, and that we should be
made good like Him. What else is meant by 'Seek ye first the kingdom of
God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto
you?' Instead of doing so, we seek the things God has promised to look
after for us, and refuse to seek the thing He wants us to seek--a thing
that cannot be given us, except we seek it. We profess to think Jesus
the grandest and most glorious of men, and yet hardly care to be like
Him; and so when we are offered His Spirit, that is, His very nature
within us, for the asking, we will hardly take the trouble to ask for it. But
to-night, at least, let all unkind thoughts, all hard judgments of one
another, all selfish desires after our own way, be put from us, that we
may welcome the Babe into our very bosoms; that when He comes
amongst us--for is He not like a child still, meek and lowly of heart?--He
may not be troubled to find that we are quarrelsome, and selfish, and
unjust."
I came down from the chair, and Mr Brownrigg being the nearest
of my guests, and wide awake, for he had been standing, and had
indeed been listening to every word according to his ability, I shook
hands with him. And positively there was some meaning in the grasp
with which he returned mine.
I am not going to record all the proceedings of the evening; but
I think it may be interesting to my readers to know something of how
we spent it. First of all, we sang a hymn about the Nativity. And then I
read an extract from a book of travels, describing the interior of an
Eastern cottage, probably much resembling the inn in which our Lord
was born, the stable being scarcely divided fron the rest of the house.
For I felt that to open the inner eyes even of the brain, enabling people
to SEE in some measure the reality of the old lovely story, to help them
to have what the Scotch philosophers call a true CONCEPTION of the
external conditions and circumstances of the events, might help to open
the yet deeper spiritual eyes which alone can see the meaning and truth
dwelling in and giving shape to the outward facts. And the extract was
listened to with all the attention I could wish, except, at first, from some
youngsters at the further end of the barn, who became, however,
perfectly still as I proceeded.

96

After this followed conversation, during which I talked a good
deal to Jane Rogers, paying her particular attention indeed, with the
hope of a chance of bringing old Mr Brownrigg and her together in some
way.
"How is your mistress, Jane?" I said.
"Quite well, sir, thank you. I only wish she was here."
"I wish she were. But perhaps she will come next year."
"I think she will. I am almost sure she would have liked to come
to-night; for I heard her say"----
"I beg your pardon, Jane, for interrupting you; but I would
rather not be told anything you may have happened to overhear," I said,
in a low voice.
"Oh, sir!" returned Jane, blushing a dark crimson; "it wasn't
anything particular."
"Still, if it was anything on which a wrong conjecture might be
built"--I wanted to soften it to her--"it is better that one should not be
told it. Thank you for your kind intention, though. And now, Jane," I
said, "will you do me a favour?"
"That I will, sir, if I can."
"Sing that Christmas carol I heard you sing last night to your
mother."
"I didn't know any one was listening, sir."
"I know you did not. I came to the door with your father, and we
stood and listened."
She looked very frightened. But I would not have asked her had
I not known that she could sing like a bird.
"I am afraid I shall make a fool of myself," she said.
"We should all be willing to run that risk for the sake of others,"
I answered.
"I will try then, sir."
So she sang, and her clear voice soon silenced the speech all
round.
"Babe Jesus lay on Mary's lap; The sun shone in His hair: And so
it was she saw, mayhap, The crown already there.
"For she sang: 'Sleep on, my little King! Bad Herod dares not
come; Before Thee, sleeping, holy thing, Wild winds would soon be
dumb.
"'I kiss Thy hands, I kiss Thy feet, My King, so long desired; Thy
hands shall never be soil'd, my sweet, Thy feet shall never be tired.
"'For Thou art the King of men, my son; Thy crown I see it plain;
And men shall worship Thee, every one, And cry, Glory! Amen."
"Babe Jesus open'd His eyes so wide! At Mary look'd her Lord.
And Mary stinted her song and sigh'd. Babe Jesus said never a word."
When Jane had done singing, I asked her where she had learned
the carol; and she answered,--
"My mistress gave it me. There was a picture to it of the Baby on
his mother's knee."
"I never saw it," I said. "Where did you get the tune?"

97

who I knew was friendly to me in her heart. His face was ten degrees less stupid than it usually was." "I am very nearly too old. "There is a plough that has no share. But first I said--not getting up on a chair this time:-- "Some people think it is not proper for a clergyman to dance. in His parable of the Prodigal Son. I am going to ask our dear friend Dr. I turned to Miss Boulderstone. and asked her to dance with me. And the buried harvest of the sea Stored in the barns of eternity. Old Rogers. I fancied I saw even a glimmer of some satisfaction in it. I was almost sorry I had asked her." For I had long thought that the way to make indifferent things bad. the joy in Heaven over a repentant sinner by the figure of 'music and dancing. was for good people not to do them. "but I will try. for a moment. from whom I had borrowed a piano. my singing days be over. and it did. I turned to Old Rogers. "My father and mother can both sing. And here there needeth no harrowing gear: Wheat nor poppy nor any leaf Will cover this naked ground of grief. I advise you to ask Dr." His voice was certainly a little feeble. be they as good as they may. Dr. She blushed so dreadfully that. And so saying. 'Gainst horses and plough in wrath they shake: The horses are fierce. but the song was not much the worse for it. Duncan there. and besides. sir." I rose and said to the assembly: "My friends. 98 . but the plough will break. "I'm no canary at that." "You must have quite a gift of song. But a coulter that parteth keen and fair." said the doctor. she yet danced very naturally.--If you please. Or ever the plough hath touch'd them there. Jane!" I said." Genuine applause followed the good doctor's song. "I thought it would go with a tune I knew. "And the seed that is dropt in those furrows of fear." I said. and I had the satisfaction of feeling that I had an honest girl near me. But she put her hand in mine at once. Will lift to the sun neither blade nor ear. But the furrows they rise To a terrible size. I should have no heart for it myself. and asked her to play a country dance for us. "But a harvest-day will come at last When the watery winter all is past. Duncan. And a more suitable one for all the company he could hardly have pitched upon. I stepped up to Jane Rogers. If our Lord chose to represent." Mr Brownrigg was seated on the other side of me. and if she was a little clumsy. and had apparently listened with some interest.' I will hearken to Him rather than to men. Duncan to give us a song. sir. Where no spring times come. He CAN sing. "Sing us a song. I mean to assert my freedom from any such law. The waves so gray Will be shorn away By the angels' sickles keen and fast. But I was not fit to sing to you. and I tried it. if I did not think God was pleased to see us enjoying ourselves. Down it drops plumb.

either. to those whose necessity was greater than his. I cannot tell. sir. And really it's wonderful how one gets on without them. and addressed Mr Boulderstone. for the help you have given me this evening." "I thought you must." So I led him to Jane Rogers." "I hope I haven't taken too much upon me. to whose wants he ministered far more from his table than his surgery. To him it was milk and strong meat in one. And Richard's face was glowing too. I never did." 99 . But the fact is. you know. Thomas Weir did not dance at all. and young Brownrigg had taken Mary Weir. Mr Brownrigg?" "Who'd care to dance with me. I have known that man." "I don't mind trusting myself to you. Old Rogers?" I said." "God bless you. But when he saw the girl stand trembling before him. There were signs of calcitration in the churchwarden. sir? I'm an old man-o'-war's man. he said: "Come along. sir. somehow or other. but. turning with a smile to his daughter. Old Rogers had been drinking in every word. after just a perceptible hesitation. and let's have a hop together. Even old Brownrigg looked with a curious interest upon us. and a young woman won't care to dance with me. But now his face shone with a father's gratification besides. sir? I don't care to dance with an old woman. Meantime Dr Duncan was dancing with one of his own patients. "I am greatly obliged to you. when he perceived whither I was leading him. And Mr Boulderstone had taken out old Mrs Rogers. She stood up in respectful awe before the master of her destiny." "You got into the spirit of it because you wanted to help me. I thought it wasn't a time to mind one's peas and cues exactly. "Why don't you dance. but looked on kindly. sir. than make such an apology to ME. "Did your honour ever see an elephant go up the futtock- shrouds?" "No. my lass. I thought. I hate formality myself. or that his hard heart actually softened a little. Rogers. just as if you had to entertain them all. old Mrs Trotter. to ask me why I don't dance. "Why don't you dance." "I'll find you a partner. as I placed his daughter in a seat beside him." "Well. and I thank you heartily. whether it was that he was flattered by the signs of his own power. sir. An old man's safe with you--or a young lass. I don't know how. that you would have known better by this time. hearing of a case of want from his servant. sir." "I should have thought. You won't take my fun ill. I got into the spirit of it. accepting them as homage. untouched. I've seen you talking to everybody. Mr Boulderstone. I turned." The dear fellow was the most formal man I had ever met. send the fowl he was about to dine upon." he added. if you will put yourself in my hands. But to see the faces of the people! While I had been talking.

that is. And I always thought. and they listened even with more interest than I had been able to hope for. For I thought with myself. That was all. Indeed we had only six country dances during the evening. It is very easy indeed for such people to stick to their point. that the happy and free hearted mood they were in "enabled the judgment. as it were. that to find God in other books enabled us to see clearly that he was MORE in the Bible than in any other book. And between the dances I read two or three of Wordsworth's ballads to them. notion. to know something of each other really. my girl. 100 . Hitherto this girl had been a mere name. So that obstinacy was a ridiculously easy accomplishment to him. she seemed less frightened at him than when she heard me make the proposal. But I took care that we should have dancing in moderation. It would not do for people either to get weary with recreation. or conception could be present to him. "Don't be too shy. I heard him take leave of her with the words-- "Give us a kiss. and give her something to eat in return for her song. my readers must judge from my description of him. and it was easy for him to treat her as such. as a mere fancy of his son's. She obeyed very sweetly. I then asked him to take her into the house. or properly a HERBERGER. And the churchwarden danced very heartily with the lady's-maid. For I never could believe that a man who did not find God in other places as well as in the Bible ever found Him there at all. The idea of her had passed through his mind. And when the company was parting. which it sends out before it as a harbinger. He yielded somewhat awkwardly." Which kiss I heard with delight. The fact was. and therefore to love it more. and what passed between them I do not know. Every true poem carries this spell with it in its own music. to prepare a harbour or lodging for it. But when they returned. or excited with what was not worthy of producing such an effect. or all other books put together." I whispered to her as she passed me. or phantom at best. it would not only do them good. For had I not been a peacemaker in this matter? And had I not then a right to feel blessed?-- But the understanding was brought about simply by making the people meet--compelling them. and let bygones be bygones. but with what vividness any idea. But then it needs a quiet mood first of all. to let this music be listened to. but help them to see what is in the Bible. to her lover's father. if I could get them to like poetry and beautiful things in words." I wish one knew always by what musical spell to produce the right mood for receiving and reflecting a matter as it really is. For he never had any notion of the matter to which he was opposed--only of that which he favoured.

To feede our hungry soules. After supper we had a little more singing. for guerdon of Thy paine: Ay me! what can us lesse than that behove? Had He required life of us againe. and goodness too. I knew that many of them must have two behaviours. There were a few curious words and idioms in these. for they might set them inquiring. As He himselfe hath lov'd us afore-hand. the food of life. Even He Himselfe. Had it beene wrong to ask His owne with gaine? He gave us life. And here is my sheet of Carols:-- AN HYMNE OF HEAVENLY LOVE. Free that was thrall. How can we Thee requite for all this good? Or what can prize that Thy most precious blood? Yet nought Thou ask'st in lieu of all this love. for. when we fared had amisse. But He our life hath left unto us free. some time or other. and give me an opportunity of interesting them further. But after all the old foremast-man was a seer of the Kingdom. which now we have. and that now they were on their good behaviour. that us so little cost. was but a child in it. Especially I should have enjoyed recording one piece of talk. and education. but I thought it better to leave them as they were. to His image wrought. during the whole evening. Then life were least. Ne ought demaunds but that we loving bee. I thought I could see that THE difficulty with the noble old gentleman was one of expression. Lord of Might. It might make them ashamed of the other at last. in their ups and downs of fortune. and the other. And bound therto with an eternall band. unto us lent. Of course. Before we parted. O blessed Well of Love! O Floure of Grace! O glorious Morning- Starre! O Lampe of Light! Most lively image of thy Father's face. And after. gathered from the older portions of our literature. For most of the modern hymns are to my mind neither milk nor meat--mere wretched imitations. I gave to each of my guests a sheet of Christmas Carols. the better. that was undignified or ill-bred. giving them the opportunity of finding out how nice it was. which I should like to give my readers. Eternal King of Glorie. But love of us. Us wretches from the second death did save. There were many little bits of conversation I overheard. Who first to us our life and being gave. But I thought the oftener such were put on their good behaviour. Him first to love great right and reason is. And to my satisfaction nothing came to my eyes or ears. in which Old Rogers was evidently trying to move a more directly religious feeling in the mind of Dr Duncan. in the history of a word. words fare very much like human beings. Him first to love that us so dearely bought. Meeke Lambe of God. in His dear sacrament. 101 . with all his refinement. and blessed that was bann'd. but I cannot dwell longer upon this part of my Annals. He it restored lost. before all worlds behight. And last. And next our brethren.

Nor beast that by Him feed. O Christian wight! Do homage to thy King. First what He is inquire. An orient pearl is often found In depth of dirty mire. That full and freely gave Himselfe to thee. But forced He is with silly beasts In crib to shroud His head. The inns are full. that all thy spirits shall fill With sweet enragement of celestial love. His mercies manifold. And give thy selfe unto Him full and free. The beasts are parcel of His pomp. His cancred foes. However here on higher steps we stand. through love. SOUTHWELL. All other loves. From thence reade on the storie of His life. With joy approach. With all thy hart. In which thou wallowest like to filthy swyne. His wooden dish. In freezing winter night. Thou must renounce and utterly displace. Despise Him not for lying there. and in how base array. Lift up to Him thy heavie clouded eyne. His sharpe assayes. Then next. wrapt in a wad of hay. Nor Joseph's simple weed. His fights. 102 . Weigh not His crib. The wooden dish His plate. and to the same againe shall fade. The Prince himself is come from heaven-. Where they shall have like heritage of land. Offending none. O Earth! out of thy soyle. When Him the silly shepheards came to see. This stable is a Prince's court. His povertie. His toyle. In homely manger trembling lies. Spencer NEW PRINCE. and that self Maker's hand. Thou must Him love. and stirre up affections base. And highly praise this humble pomp Which He from heaven doth bring. His unfaulty wayes. The glory of our heavenly riches lay. however of us light esteemed. His paines. And read. And doest thy mynd in durty pleasures moyle. Which also were with self-same price redeemed That we. with which the world doth blind Weake fancies. and doing good to all. That thou this soveraine bountie mayst behold.This pomp is praised there. And thy bright radiant eyes shall plainly see Th' idee of His pure glorie present still Before thy face. Yet being malist both by great and small. Kindled through sight of those faire things above. NEW POMP. A DIALOGUE BETWEEN THREE SHEPHERDS. Unmindfull of that dearest Lord of thyne. to love our brethren. and His beheasts embrace. Weigh not his mother's poor attire. His strife. The crib His chair of state. Whom greatest princes sought on lowest knee. no man will yield This little Pilgrim bed. Then shall thy ravisht soul inspired bee With heavenly thoughts farre above humane skil. with all thy soule and mind. Through which He past His miserable dayes. Then rouze thy selfe. Betweene the toylfull oxe and humble asse. His humble carriage. The persons in that poor attire His royal liveries wear. And in what rags. Behold a silly tender Babe. Beginne from first. where He encradled was In simple cratch. that were made Of that selfe mould. That we. Alas! a piteous sight.

Were watchful for the morn. Which was their faithful guide. Do heaven and earth rejoice and sing-. And wonder That a stable should enfold Him that can thunder. The wakeful shepherds. Where should He be but in the throng. Sings with the infant in his arms. Your Saviour Christ is born. Awake. Jeremy Taylor. Until it pointed forth the Babe. Chorus. A SONG OF PRAISE FOR THE BIRTH OF CHRIST. poor in walls. dark thoughts. my joy. But better news from heaven was brought. 103 . the church is glad. SIMEON. NOW LET THY SERVANT DIE. and we for Him: GLORY TO GOD ON HIGH. O little Bethlem. that sing And take wing Just as may echo to His voice. And rejoice. my glory. Where is this blessed Babe That hath made All the world so full of joy And expectation. A poor cow. sing. JOHN MASON. In Bethlem-town the infant lies. Hither the angels fly! Hark. Sing songs to celebrate the birth Of Jacob's God and King. Wise men from far beheld the star. And Him they glorified. near their flocks. Which makes the blind to see! The day spring from on high came down To cheer and visit thee.Shall we our Christ deny? He's born for us. Away. awake. But rich in furniture! Since heaven is now come down to earth. that brought forth light. how the heavenly choir doth sing Glory to God on High! The news is spread. o'ercome with joy. But He hath other waiters now. When wing and tongue and all May so procure their happiness? 3. O what a gracious God have we! How good! How great! Even as our misery. Within a place obscure. 1. O happy night. And among His angel- ministers. That glorious Boy That crowns each nation With a triumphant wreath of blessedness? 2. An ox and mule stand and behold.

for He waits to be gracious. because His was the kingdom and the power and the glory. Nor is He. I learned that Miss Oldcastle went most Sundays to the neighbouring town of Addicehead to church. and made her look very ill. I took my text from the Sermon on the Mount. was prepared to find him a cultivated. The spot on one cheek was much brighter than that on the other. SERMON ON GOD AND MAMMON. however. Perhaps I may have put a wrong interpretation on the passage. She did not sit beside her father. And He took my part against myself. It is. I wrote my sermon just as if I were preaching it to my unseen readers as I spoke it to my present parishioners. they became the more willing that I should know. the sixth chapter. THEREFORE I SAY TO YOU. CHAPTER XI . however. And here it is now: The Gospel according to St Matthew. It was no use asking myself why I should be jealous: there the ugly thing was. however. And as the magazine for which these Annals were first written was intended chiefly for Sunday reading. however mistaken they may be. but in the most shadowy corner of the church--near the organ loft. lying in wait to catch poor erring men in their words or their prayers. notwithstanding. Perhaps the reader may. Hence. and ask for it as such. But there was one stray sheep of my flock that appeared in church for the first time on the morning of Christmas Day--Catherine Weir. even if you should take it for a loaf. She could have seen her father if she had looked up. I believe. and part of the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth verses:-- "'YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON. and begged Him to deliver me from the evil. for I could not be constantly closing the lips of the communicative as I had done those of Jane Rogers. like the scribes. if I must be honest. I prayed to our God to grant me the honour of speaking a true word to them all. suspect a deeper cause for this feeling (to which I would rather not give the true name again) than a merely professional one. But I heard a good many things from others. which honour I thought I was right in asking. So I went and told God I was ashamed. TAKE NO THOUGHT FOR YOUR LIFE. I never asked questions about the private affairs of any of my parishioners. a joy to think that He will not give you a stone. except of themselves individually upon occasion of their asking me for advice. Now I had often heard of the ability of the rector. in analysing which I discovered the chief component to be jealousy. and although I had never met him. but she kept her eyes down the whole time. And amongst other things. I confess that I heard the news with a pang. and some consequent necessity for knowing more than they told me.' 104 . Still. which I hope I must. if not an original man. and never even lifted them to me. because the Lord reproached the Pharisees for not seeking the honour that cometh from God.

If a man serve his own servant. you know. Did He mean it wholly?--He meant it far beyond what the words could convey. riches are meant to be the slave--not even the servant of man. So you see plainly enough that a man cannot serve God and Mammon. with Himself. but to minister. oftener. in fact. Now. Do not. he is a slave. For how can a slave of his own slave be the servant of the God of freedom. and yet we have nothing to do with the words He spoke out of the midst of His true. and so coming nearer to our end! "MAMMON. yea. our own glorious Father. the source of our being. To serve is the highest. in a word. But here he serves his own slave. "When the Child whose birth we celebrate with glad hearts this day. feeling. instead of searching deeper for a meaning which will be evidently true and wise. And in the fact that they could not do it perfectly if they were to try. of Him who can have no one to serve Him but a free man? His service is freedom. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto. may have suffered because we are sinners. and so leave it. The Son of our Father in heaven may have become a child. they comfort themselves by thinking He could not have meant it altogether. or. is freedom. Or they think that if He did mean it. I pray you. is the only way to get rid of all bondage. Let us seek to find out what our Lord means. trying and failing and trying again--verily to be victorious at last--what matter WHEN. perfect knowledge. and not to be the master. they do not think about it at all as anything that in the least concerns them. may have led the one life which belongs to every man to lead. On the other hand. doing the will of His Father in heaven. noblest calling in creation. any one who has no just claim to be his master. that we may do it. He meant it altogether and entirely. Did He mean it?--He never said what He did not mean. He said this. when it seems to them that His advice is impracticable. When people do not understand what the Lord says. He could not expect them to carry it out. make any confusion between service and slavery. they take refuge from the duty of trying to do it at all. to serve God. means RICHES. or. 105 . may have died for our sakes. grew up to be a man. and action! Is it not strange that it should be so? Let it not be so with us this day. so long as we are trying.

--How will it be with such a man when on a sudden he finds that the world has vanished. and to know he has more. however sorry he may be for him.' When he feels he cannot be happy without them. Then is he the slave of Mammon. 'Art thou also become one of us?' And Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. And the poor souls of Hades. not to those who NEED it. making them yet more of slaves to the overgrown monster they worship for his size. and saying. whose poor necessities first made money of value to him. When he wants to have more. but for the name of the wealth. to worship spirit and not matter. it teaches us to worship God and not Mammon. The angels will not bow down to him because his property. but to those who are rich like himself. "Terrible things to say on Christmas Day! But if Christmas Day teaches us anything. When he puts forth the energies of his nature to get them. When he wants to leave money behind him. rise up as one man to welcome him. not for the sake of his children or relatives. Still more is he Mammon's slave when his devotion to his god makes him oppressive to those over whom his wealth gives him power. though. poor Dives! poor server of Mammon. for he worships his riches no longer. than he can need. or when he honours in a rich man what he would not honour in a poor man. even of his relations. and he is alone with God? There lies the body in which he used to live. whose vile god can pretend to deliver him no longer! Or rather. as set forth in his will. He cannot now even try to bribe God with a cheque. takes five or six figures to express its amount It makes no difference to them that he has lost it. not for love of him--no worshipper of Mammon loves another--but rejoicing in the mischief that has befallen him. When he will not give to his neighbour for fear of becoming poor himself. however grateful he may feel to him for the broken victuals and the penny. And so even in hell he is something nobler than he was on earth. or when he becomes unjust in order to add to his stores. He cannot. When he leaves his money. "Alas. When he schemes and dreams and lies awake about them. for they never respected him. when he says to riches. When he honours those who have money because they have money. He curses them. 'Ye are my good. 106 . but with which itself and its fictitious value are both left behind. who envied him the wealth they had lost before. "But how can a man SERVE riches? Why. cannot with one drop of the water of Paradise cool that man's parched tongue. to worship love and not power. for the blockish god never pretended anything--it was the man's own doing--Alas for the Mammon- worshipper! he can no longer deceive himself in his riches. irrespective of their character.

' It is not the being rich that is wrong. You. for God hath made it possible. Let us look to the text. We are poor enough? Ah. my friends. that God will let you off. "'YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON. as the necessary majority. It is easier for the poor man to enter into the kingdom. And the greater the victory. as far as outward things go. have been more regarded than the rich. and be liberal and light-hearted still. instead of making them serve your neighbour and yourself--your neighbour for this life. I knew a rich lady once. and have a beatitude all to themselves besides. my poor friend. yet many of the poor have failed to enter in. and the greater is the disgrace of their defeat. must pay the uttermost farthing.' But is there no bitterness in the tone of that response? Does it not mean. in the way of salvation than the rich. Do not think. in giving a large gift of money to a poor man. liberal rich man lose his riches. when it is the rich man that overcometh the world. I have known a light-hearted. He lets nobody off. 'Serve Mammon!' do you say? 'How can I serve Mammon? I have no Mammon to serve. say apologetically. TAKE NO THOUGHT FOR YOUR LIFE. as it is none in you to be poor. but the serving of riches. but the rich man does sometimes enter in. THEREFORE I SAY UNTO YOU. too. yourself for the everlasting habitations. For the poor have more done for them. He loves you too well to let you serve Mammon a whit more than your rich neighbour. Read it again.' 107 . 'I hope it is no disgrace in me to be rich. 'It will be a long time before I have a chance of trying THAT?'--But I am not driven to such questions for the chance of convicting some of you of Mammon- worship. For in the making of this world as a school of salvation. "Do I now hear any of my friends saying in their hearts: Let the rich take that! It does not apply to us.'--Would you like to have riches a moment sooner than God gives them? Would you serve Mammon if you had him?--'Who can tell?' do you answer? 'Leave those questions till I am tried. the poor. God knows it is hard for the rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

--Where are you now. or do you seek a better way--THE way that the Father of nations would have you walk in? 108 . and the man who is only anxious to add another ten thousand to his much goods laid up for many years. then. or even about his own. The former need is a God-ordained necessity. a serving of Mammon? Clearly. are you content to go with the nations of the earth. friends. Do you say--"What shall we eat? and what shall we drink? and wherewithal shall we be clothedl?" Are ye thus of doubtful mind?--Then you are Mammon-worshippers. do you long to be rich? Then you worship Mammon. poor woman? Sleepless over the empty cupboard and to-morrow's dinner? 'It is because we have no bread?' do you answer? Have you forgotten the five loaves among the five thousand. Is taking thought. who clothes the lilies and feeds the birds? O ye of little faith? O ye poor-spirited Mammon-worshippers! who worship him not even because he has given you anything. do you think you would feel safer if you had money in the bank? Then you are Mammon-worshippers. But I may be too hard upon you. "But how is the work of the world to be done if we take no thought?--We are nowhere told not to take thought. Tell me. whereas no man can by any possibility trust in God for ten thousand pounds. but in the hope that he may some future day benignantly regard you. "Why are you to take no thought? Because you cannot serve God and Mammon. and the fragments that were left? Or do you know nothing of your Father in heaven. But you. We MUST take thought. But you ought to find it easy to trust in God for such a matter as your daily bread. poor man? Brooding over the frost? Will it harden the ground. the latter desire a man-devised appetite at best--possibly swinish greed. for you would trust the barn of the rich man rather than the God who makes the corn to grow. so that the God of the sparrows cannot find food for His sons? Where are you now. The question is--What are we to take or not to take thought about? By some who do not know God. I know well that our Father sees a great difference between the man who is anxious about his children's dinner. little work would be done if they were not driven by anxiety of some kind. Tell me.

You take no thought of earnestness about the doing of your duty. What. the children of God can never be happy serving other than Him. "WHAT then are we to take thought about? Why. find no faith in you? Ah. my poor friend. his duty. to be set down.--And this is what God does sometimes. for a stroke of the gentle hand. and the twilight begins to come duskily into the chamber. then. I meant--you deserve to have your own way for a while. who canst not trust in God--I was going to say you DESERVE--but what do I know of you to condemn and judge you?--I was going to say. that the work of the world will be only so much the better done. and might well have to thank God for the misery of any swine-trough that could bring you to your senses. God. you deserve to be treated like the child who frets and complains because his mother holds him on her knee and feeds him mouthful by mouthful with her own loving hand. A man's business is just to do his duty: God takes upon Himself the feeding and the clothing. is the only region on which the doubt can settle? Why. God's will to be done. the baby now born. to have your mother open the cupboard door for you. for I fear you would only be worse Mammon- worshippers than now. about our life. and for ever with us. All the full-fed Mammon can give you is what your mother would have given you without the consequent loathing. His soul was wretched. It was all one. and wherewithal he is to be clothed? And remember all the needs of the world come back to these three. what he is to drink. with the light of her countenance upon it all. and you look about all at once and see no mother. with the Mammon-worshippers amongst the poor. I think. how will your cupboard comfort you then? Ask it for a smile. so long as he was not with his father. about our work. and see what he is worth. for a word of love. but you take thought of care lest God should not fulfil His part in the goings on of the world. and the arm of her love around you. Will the work of the world be neglected if a man thinks of his work. The prodigal might fill his belly with riotous living or with the husks that the swine ate. So would you be if you had wealth. Alas! poor child! When the sweets begin to pall. that the very means of procuring the raiment or the food will be the more thoroughly used. 109 . What are we not to take thought about? Why. But you turn it the other way. instead of what he is to eat. I think. Shall it be so with you? Shall the Son of man. He says to them. and leave you alone to your pleasures. Ah. You will allow. and see what it will come to. Take your Mammon. The one is our business: the other is God's. and told to help yourself. He alone remains to be doubted. friends.

but I do believe that they who wait upon the Lord shall not lack any good. in God's way of things that the man who does his work shall not live by it. "But we do see people die of starvation sometimes. and he would be what God would have him. How nobly he would work--working not for reward. would be sure that God would have him liberal. But if you did your work in God's name. Witness our Lord's admiration of the poor widow with her great farthing. If it be God's will that I should starve. but because it was the will of God! How happily he would receive his food and clothing. It is not. however. You would say. One of the richest men in England is haunted with the dread of the workhouse. This man whom I should like to know. 110 .--Yes. No fear of his ever doing a mean thing. who did his own work and did not interfere with God's. And your mind would be at ease. We do not know why here and there a man may be left to die of hunger. because he trusteth in Thee. He would die in a ditch. Riches are not in the least necessary to that. It may be good for you to go hungry and bare-foot. his whole body would be full of light. I can starve as well as another. He gives no safety against such a fear. receiving them as the gifts of God! What peace would be his! What a sober gaiety! How hearty and infectious his laughter! What a friend he would be! How sweet his sympathy! And his mind would be so clear he would understand everything His eye being single. and cometh down from the Father of lights. What it may be good to deprive a man of till he knows and acknowledges whence it comes." Of that I am sure. It is this fear of want that makes men do mean things. it may be still better to give him when he has learned that every good and every perfect gift is from above. that would not trouble you. and left the rest to Him. rather. They are afraid to part with their precious lord-- Mammon. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon Thee. but it must be utter death to have no faith in God. "I SHOULD like to know a man who just minded his duty and troubled himself about nothing.

was one who trusted Him for her daughter. and yet you won't trust Him to give them food and clothes! Depend upon it.--I think I hear her say. if He ever refuses to give them food and clothes. He makes you love your children. but if not. I mean. woman! she whom the Saviour praised so pleasedly. and yet cannot trust in God out and out. ashamed when you have been unjust to them." Do you think you love your children better than He who made them? Is not your love what it is because He put it into your heart first? Have not you often been cross with them? Sometimes unjust to them? Whence came the returning love that rose from unknown depths in your being.--you will say. too much to give them everything all at once. and swept away the anger and the injustice! You did not create that love. and with being the better for it. or He would never have created them and made us to delight in them? I do not say that your children shall be clothed in scarlet and fine linen. the why and the wherefore. though she fain would. it begins to be a shame. They have so much that at least they can sing! Consider the lilies--they were red lilies. and you knew all about it. Would you not trust Him who delights in glorious colours--more at least than you. but my children --it is the thought of my children that is too much for me. You will say. God sent it. He loves them a thousand times better than you do--be sure of that--and feels for their sufferings too. "But as your mistrust will go further. it is not because God despises scarlet and fine linen or does not love your children. not in words. "I believe I could trust Him for myself. "But I think I hear my troubled friend who does not love money. 'Ah! yes--food and clothing of a sort! Enough to keep life in and too much cold out! But I want my children to have plenty of GOOD food. But He would make them such that they may have everything without being the worse. I mean. Probably you were not good enough to send for it by prayer. 'Ah! yes'--in your feeling. when He cannot give them just what He would like to give them--cannot for their good. What an honour she had! "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt. and NICE clothes. But it came. be sorry when you have been cross with them. those. I think. or at least I should be ready to dare the worst for His sake." Ah. He loves them. I say. 111 .' "Faithless mother! Consider the birds of the air. you would not dare to give them food or clothes either. I can go further to meet it. And if you cannot trust Him yet.

and far more than. Would not this be to be more of gods than Satan promised to Eve? To live carelessly-divine. from the very nature of our relation to Him as well as the fact that we need these things. Money in the bank wouldn't do it. and fearing nothing. self-forgetting lives--is not that more than to know both good and evil--lives in which the good. He begs you to leave the future to Him. "It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. And I am glad to believe that I am not alone in my parish in this conviction. Some of you have known hunger and cold and weariness. we walk without fear. has swallowed up the evil. resting in that perfect All-in-all in whom our nature is eternal too. as much as He is in our past. and mind the present. full of hope and courage and strength to do His will. when we live with large bright spiritual eyes. fearless. doing our work in the great present. It is when to-morrow's burden is added to the burden of to- day. waiting for the endless good which He is always giving as fast as He can get us able to take it in. We think that we come nearer to God than the lower animals do by our foresight. like Aaron's rod. He cannot do to-morrow's business for you beforehand to save you from fear about it. do they not so turn into good? I say they do. not God's. irrespective of the fact that nothing else but such trust can put our heart at peace. and turned it into good? For pain and hunger are evils j but if faith in God swallows them up. and a thousand years as one day. loving. What more or what else could He do to take the burden off you? Nothing else would do it. with whom a day is as a thousand years. we can feel Him to be in our present. Do you not join with me to say: It is well. I have never been too hungry. But there is another side to it. my friends. If you find yourselves so loaded. because He is in our future. at least remember this: it is your own doing. leaving both past and future to Him to whom they are ever present. Never load yourselves so. We are like to Him with whom there is no past or future. Partakers thus of the divine nature. as much as. and better than well--whatever helps us to know the love of Him who is our God? 112 . What else is there but to tell you to trust in Him. That would derange everything. that the weight is more than a man can bear. duty-doing. but I have had trouble which I would gladly have exchanged for hunger and cold and weariness.

--He could starve. But when the victory was secure. even though He could make it Himself. however like things it may look to our half-seeing eyes.--Which was better? To feed Himself. and loved. For His will is all. and took no thought for the morrow after He became a man. and the bread was added unto Him. and rejoiced in. He had come hither to be tried. and did help Him with all that He needed. "He was a-hungered in the wilderness. namely. neither does he spin.' said our Lord. And this man is the baby whose birth we celebrate this day. the purse in common! Hard-working men and rich ladies were ready to help Him. or be fed by His Father? Judg? yourselves. "But let us look at what will be more easily shown--how. or stipends.--Did He then never want? Yes. jinxious people. but He could not eat bread that His Father did not give Him. once at least--for a little while only. the ministering of women. One of the highest benefits we can reap from understanding the way of God with ourselves is. Yet witness for the Father the garment woven throughout. or vicarages. 'No. to whose self-indulgence or weakness the child owes his birth as hers? Ah! but he is not therefore forgotten. then. He sought the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Was this a condition to choose--that of a baby--by one who thought it part of a man's high calling to take care of the morrow? Did He not thus cast the whole matter at once upor the hands and heart of His Father? Sufficient unto the baby's day is the need thereof. Preaching was not a profession then. he toils not. by his Father in heaven. and let God do God's will for Him. 113 . And it is His Spirit in our hearts that makes us desire to know or to be another such--who would do the will of God for God. 'Make bread. There were no monasteries. Remember how He forsook His trade when the time came for Him to preach. "But there HAS BEEN just one man who has acted thus. lo! the angels brought Him food from His Father. most likely. that we become able thus to trust Him for others with whom we do not understand His ways. Do you remind me that sometimes even his mother forgets him--a mother. and yet he if fed and clothed. He did the will of His Father.' said Satan.

and all between. not a command. Do not blacken nine and ten and eleven. or stand unmoved amid the cruel mockings of the men he loves. He would not even pray to His Father for what He knew He should have if He did ask it. you shall meet it walking in the light. And so He told His disciples to do when they were called to answer before judges and rulers. forget the words and reverse the actions! The best preparation is the present well seen to. For this will keep the eye so clear and the body so full of light that the right action will be perceived at once. and never once employed His divine power to save Him from His human fate. there is nothing very noble in a man's taking no thought except it be from faith. In respect of it there is no difference between next day and next year. You may fancy the Lord had His own power to fall back upon.' You have a disagreeable duty to do at twelve o'clock. and equally unreasonable not to trust Him? The Lord was hungry and needed food now. If there were no God to take thought for us. though He could still go without for a while. or a promise merely. Do the work of each. in a chariot of fire to the presence of his Father. But that would have been to Him just the one dreadful thing. How often do men who have made up their minds what to say and do under certain expected circumstances. So when the dreaded moment in the future becomes the present. It shall be given you what ye shall say. it may be. That would not be in any way divine. next hour and next century. "And this gives me occasion to remark that the same truth holds with regard to any portion of the future as well as the morrow. He left it to His Father. Let God do that for Him if He saw fit. "Do you feel inclined to say in your hearts: 'It was easy for Him to take no thought. with the colour of twelve. 114 . and reap your reward in peace. and the man. or an encouragement. God failing Him--how could that make it easy for Him to avoid care? The very idea would be torture. and the world without a God. He would just wait His will. and taking thought for next year. 'Take no thought. To fall back on Himself. It is a principle. the right words will rush from the heart to the lips. we should have no right to blame any one for taking thought. the last duty done. That would be to declare heaven void. will trample on the evil thing in love. You will see at once the absurdity of taking no thought for the morrow. and be sent. full of the Spirit of God because he cares for nothing but the will of God. He feared nothing for Himself. But do you see likewise that it is equally reasonable to trust God for the next moment. He did not come into the world to take care of Himself. for He had the matter in His own hands?' But observe. That His Father should forget Him!--no power in Himself could make up for that. and that light will overcome its darkness.

That was not his business. Who gave thee knowledge. but I was so carried away with my subject that I forgot them. when devotions call. this Christmas day. In hollow murmurs. Nay even thy servants. in Him all truth I find. With what authority it comes to us from the lips of Him who knew all about it. in need. For I always preached extempore." And here. the one thing every man comes into this world to learn. who called up the night. Nor want. alas! too often without wanting it. and your neighbour as yourselves. and lose Him? Can stars protect thee? Or can poverty. in the name of the holy child Jesus. which phrase I beg my reader will not misinterpret as meaning ON THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT. and love Him with all your heart and soul. and show them to you--make you understand them. shall make me groan: A holy hermit is a mind alone. OF WITHOUT THE DUE PREPARATION OF MUCH THOUGHT. His life was of no value to Him but as His Father cared for it. To seek a saving* influence. The hand of danger cannot fall amiss. And bid her fall upon thee like sweet showers. and He would mind the work His Father had given Him to do. it is. and in whose power. clothed by His care. God would mind all that was necessary for Him. I repeat. Oh! canst thou be so stupid then. and who placed the light Guide to thy labours. And. my friends. He did not care about it. my poor story Shall outlive all their age. "O man! thou image of thy Maker's good. to yield yourselves to the Spirit of God. I call upon you. and ever did as He said! "Now you see that He took no thought for the morrow. to be fed by His hand. so dim. This was what the Lord wanted--and we need. this is just the one secret of a blessed life. that is--so that you shall see them to be true. I had meant to introduce them into my sermon. Which is the light to heaven. from a writer of the Elizabethan time. I will give my reader some lines with which he may not be acquainted. that Providence Who made the morning. "But see how the fact of His own power adds tenfold significance to the fact that He trusted in God. who will take of the things of Jesus. and all their glory. the curse of man. What canst thou fear. all fate. He never once. to remember that the one gift promised without reserve to those who ask it--the one gift worth having--the gift which makes all other gifts a thousand-fold in value. And. and trust in God. when breathed into thy blood His Spirit is that built thee? What dull sense Makes thee suspect. the Tree? Must He then be distrusted? Shall His frame Discourse with Him why thus and thus I am? He made the Angels thine. put out His eye! He is my star. to cast care to the winds. to receive the message of peace and good-will to men. but to be one with the Father. the spirit of the child Jesus. having finished my sermon. thy fellows all. All influence. When I know what. **** 115 . to lock up thy powers. that you may be taught what He wants you to know. used His power for Himself. who so trusted thee To let thee grow so near Himself. And when my mind Is furnished with His fulness. We see that this power would not serve His need--His need not being to be fed and clothed. is the gift of the Holy Spirit.

but another night. Indeed. Mrs Tomkins. believed in astrology. always kept it beautiful. His fingers can touch nothing but to mould it into loveliness. at longest." "Amen to the first of your blessing. sir. But I daren't say AMEN to the other part of it. ye don't know what it is to be hungry AND cold." I walked home. you know." "God bless ye. After a moment. at one point in which I saw the down-bent head of Catherine Weir sink yet lower upon her hands. sir?" "No. Affliction. And may ye never know the hunger and cold as me and Tomkins has come through. We still arise more image of His will. so unselfish. sir. called from the outskirts of the little crowd-- "May the Lord come and see ye every day. I could not have spoken them.] I had more than ordinary attention during my discourse. and the deeper still. most lawless. though she never lifted her eyes to meet mine. It was a lovely day. after what I've been preaching. so holy. by the road." "Neither shall you any more. One woman. fantastically chaotic. if I can help it. Because our God is so free from stain. in the wildest. And I wondered over again for the hundredth time what could be the principle which. But in the shadows lay fine webs and laces of ice. however. sir. A deep alloy whereby man tougher is To bear the hammer. 116 . Sickness. had I thought of her." "But there'll be no harm if I say it for ye. for God will give me what is good. even if your kind heart should pray against it. as usual on Sunday mornings. The beauty of holiness must be at the heart of it somehow." [Footnote *: Many. my people crowded about me with outstretched hands and good wishes. And death. the aged wife of a more aged labourer. I thought. The sun shone so warm that you could not help thinking of what he would be able to do before long--draw primroses and buttercups out of the earth by force of sweet persuasive influences. so delicately lovely that one could not but be glad of the cold that made the water able to please itself by taking such graceful forms. and hearty thanks to you. when I know it. But we're pretty tidy just in the meantime. so loving. who could not get near me. so altogether what He wants us to be. an humorous cloud 'twixt us and light. apparently capricious work of nature. so good. I need not assure my reader that she was not present to my mind when I spoke the words that so far had moved her. she sat more erect than before. and even the play of His elements is in grace and tenderness of form. As I came out of the church. therefore all His works declare Him in beauty. in those days. is but this." "Ah.

and others beholding their welfare will seek to share therein too. It is spring-time with Thy world. Draw nigh then. but yet we have cold winds and bitter hail. Already the doubts which had filled my mind on that first evening of gloom. and make the trees bourgeon. "Thy will be done. "draw near unto Thy people. all delight that the world holds. had utterly vanished. and pinched voices forbidding them that follow Thee and follow not with us. 117 . give it up. And I hoped that if ever a cloud should come over me again. I do not think that the road to contentment lies in despising what we have not got. slain by the effort to perform the priest's duty. so that all shall join in praising Thee. Let me." I said. and seeing their good works will glorify their Father in heaven. let me then think how nice they would be. pull it down. I sat down by a blazing fire. however dark and dismal it might be. to grow upon the earth till it should blossom as the rose in the light of His presence. try your hypothesis. "Ah! Lord. for I had to go out again to see some of my poor friends. and to say with all my heart to my Father in heaven. or if it is not worth trying.--It is a great thing to have the greetings of the universe presented in fire and food. in my heart. if I may not. and be content without it. but no man CAN be content--the Spirit of the Father. hoping in my Saviour. looked upon us with a hopeful smile. I might be able. doubts as to whether I had any right to the priest's office. Let it be summer. notwithstanding. O Lord. was like the Lord when He visited His people as a little one of themselves." So I walked home. and the flowers blossom. to those to whom Thou wilt draw nigh. But this we can never be except by possessing the one thing. and wanted some luncheon first. if it ever may be summer in this court of the Gentiles. if I may. and wondering to think how pleasant I had found it to be His poor servant to this people. in summer by a vase of flowers." When I reached my own study. I never thought about the matter now. without which I do not merely say no man ought to be content. and find thereby that harmony is better than unison. Draw nearer. had begun to come back towards us. But Thou hast told us that Thy kingdom cometh within us. and bury myself in my work. And then I thought how the sun. at the farthest point from us. and so Thy joy must come within us too. and the voices grow mellow and glad. to rejoice that the sun was shining on others though not on me. and poured myself out a glass of wine. Lord. be ever welcomed to my room in winter by a glowing hearth. Sun of Righteousness. Let us acknowledge all good.--And how can doubt ever be fully met but by action? Try your theory.

For to speak about such things is the greatest delight of my age. you will rejoice with a gladness you know nothing about now There. and it is too bad of him to go on preaching in his study after we saw him safe out of the pulpit"? Ah. I beg your pardon now. and some of you hope it is true. I may be actually stupid sometimes. If any young people read my little chronicle. for I have already inadvertently broken my promise. so they are in themselves THE pleasures of life. what I say may fail utterly to convey what I mean. I have done for a little while. "The vicar has already given us in this chapter hardly anything but a long sermon. well! just one word. But there I am at it again. as it was of my early manhood. I assure you. My word is this: I may speak long-windedly. For as these are THE two commandments of life. and not have a suspicion of it. next to that of loving God and my neighbour. I won't pledge myself for more. but what I mean is true. will they not be inclined to say. 118 . and when you all see it as I mean it and as you can take it. and I drop the preaching for a while. and even inconsiderately as regards my young readers. and if you do not know it to be true yet. some of you at least suspect it to be true.

and I soon fell into a dreamy state called REVERIE. which ought to be loved for the truth that is in them. who have had sad experience of the sort. will be saying in themselves. and put a few thumb-marks in them." But no. I am going to tell you one of my faults. That will probably take some of the shine off them. "He might have mentioned a surer antidote resulting from this measure. the mind has gone through a process more than analogous to that which the miser's mind goes through--namely. making modern apples of Sodom of them. which is much the same as OFFERING advice. I use that word: I am foolishly fond of the bodies of books as distinguished from their souls. which both are very wholesome towards the arresting of the furniture declension. so as to glow and shine in such a fire-light as that by which I was then sitting. I do not mean that I love reading. I do not say I love their bodies as DIVIDED from their souls. I like them ever so much the better. thumb- marks I find very obnoxious--far more so than the spoiling of the binding. I hope I do. I am an old man now. I am very fond of books. that has seldom happened to me--because I trust my pocketbook. come to be loved as articles of furniture. Nay. to be one of my faults still. Nay. I do not say I should let a book stand upon my shelves for which I felt no respect.--I know that some of my readers. Meantime. I fear. That is no fault--a virtue rather than a fault. had not some previous owner dressed them far beyond their worth. and so escape. that of passing from the respect of money because of what it can do. for it continues. I would rather burn them all. I had allowed myself a half-hour before the fire with my glass of wine and piece of bread. For I suspect that by the time books. more: I confess that if they are nicely bound. because they are pleasant to the eye. but it would be worse than a sermon. and if you should ever find it out. except indeed it happened to be useful to me in some inferior way. to the love of money because it is money. as the old meaning of the word FOND was FOOLISH. and you do not know my name. and never my memory. because it is the nearest approach they ever make to it. of one sort or another. with the names of those to whom 119 . I fear. Yet there I let them stay. But. and therefore. as it certainly was at the period of which I am now writing. I shall very soon hide it under some daisies. I think one safeguard is to encourage one's friends to borrow one's books--not to offer individual books. although certainly not things to be desired to make one wise. than either rubbed Russia or dirty GLOVE-marks even--that of utter disappearance and irreparable loss. or thought- element. I have not yet reached the furniture stage. and I do not think I ever shall. I could say a great deal more about the matter. For my part. I hope. which I fear not a few mistake for THINKING. books even of which there seems to be no prospect that I shall have time to read a single chapter before I lay this old head down for the last time. more yet--and this comes very near to showing myself worse than I thought I was when I began to tell you my fault: there are books upon my shelves which certainly at least would not occupy the place of honour they do occupy. And in this reverie I kept staring about my book-shelves. I am going to be egotistic in the most unpardonable manner. But I delight in seeing books about me. pro and con. Do not mistake me.

and my little presents were accepted. I got down my dictionary. I will tell him something else instead. the fact being that I found I did not myself need such warm clothing this winter as I had needed the last. or Inheritance.--There. at least in most instances. perhaps. though I said nothing about that. then. Again I am reminded that I am getting old. I assure my lady friends. When my half-hour was out. Mrs.the individual books are committed. and that was something. but. and pure enough of its kind for mine. and her husband received a pair of warm trousers none the less cordially that they were not quite new. however. and with the mention of which I had. specially not to be looked for in the class to which she belonged. What digressions! Gazing about on my treasures. Several families had asked me to take my Christmas dinner with them. I got up and filled my pockets with little presents for my poor people. When I reached Old Rogers's cottage. "A lovely meaning. Tomkins looked as if she had never seen so much tea together before. but would look in some time or other in the course of the evening. if they would excuse me. with the composition of which I shall not trouble my reader. as an offering to the good dame. though there was only a couple of pounds of it. I was variously received. had never found out what her aunt's name meant in Anglo-Saxon. And then I went off into another reverie." I said to myself. and set out to find them in their own homes. not liking to be thus limited. but I gave her little boy a box of water- colours--in remembrance of the first time I saw him. I had answered each that I would not. I would do so now. the thought suddenly struck me that I had never done as I had promised Judy. whither I carried a few yards of ribbon. Gerard--an unusual name in England. but unvaryingly with kindness. and soon discovered that Ethelwyn meant Home-joy. His mother did not thank me. the boy's sweetness would have been enough for both. seeing I did not intend to tell him how it was made up. and a small hymn-book. She told little Gerard to do so. in which were some hymns of my own making. And. no right to occupy the fragment of his time spent in reading it. indeed. for the good man-- 120 . bought by myself. with the special object that the colour should be bright enough for her taste. is a little bit of practical advice in both directions for young book-lovers. with a gratitude which made me ashamed of them and of myself too for a few moments. I did not dare to offer Catherine Weir anything.

They're gone anyhow. But Jane took up the explanation. She'd have me in the Bishop's Pool before you came back. than when men are all against you. So there was no great virtue--was there?--in easing my heart by giving a few of the good things people give their children to my poor friends. and that old wolf Sarah? I wouldn't be left alone with her for the world." said Mrs Rogers. that old Sarah. sir. "Why. sir. (not that she Used it much.--As I have already broken a sentence. Mr Walton?" she returned. They valued the kindness in the gift. a cause of much annoyance to the little damsel. which." "That wouldn't matter much to you. might I not?" Judy pretended to pout. especially when upon occasion I found myself approved of. "How could I stay up there with nobody but Jacob. Why not. whatever the reason may be. on some banking business. which will not be past setting for a while yet. for I had no fancy for gliding devil-wards for the sake of a few books after all. and the miserly passion for books I contrived to keep a good deal in check. When I reached the cottage. lest any one should remark that a clergyman ought not to show off his virtues. seeing she was not greatly overburdened with reverence. and to look out for kindness will not make people greedy. from what I--I beg your pardon. "She's a white wolf. and I want to stand well with you. for actually describing my paltry presents. Yet I might express surprise if I did find one. Janey dear. which was natural on Christmas Day. "I know no reason why I shouldn't see a Sandwich Islander here. I found not merely Jane there with her father and mother. "you here?" "Yes. seeing there seemed to be no company at the Hall. holding out her hand without rising. Judy!" I exclaimed. but it was called hers. and Miss Judy would come with me. I presume. Judy?" I said." "She's very welcome. but certainly was larger than I required to spend upon myself. It is more difficult to walk straight then. was not. nor yet teach his people bad habits by making them look out for presents--that my income not only seemed to me disproportioned to the amount of labour necessary in the parish. I fancy. but my little Judy as well. for the chair was such a large one. and she was set so far back in it that the easier way was not to rise. I may as well go on to say here. sitting in the old woman's arm-chair. friends. and muttered something about comparing her to a cannibal. I never could be indifferent to what people thought of me. You see I trust you. "Mistress had to go off to London with her mother to-day. But do forgive me. I know?" was all her answer. though I have had to fight hard to act as freely as if I were indifferent. would it.) and looking as much at home as--as she did in the pond. I can dare to assure you it comes from a talking old man's love of detail. and so I came to see my father and mother. quite unexpected. and from no admiration of such small givings as those. whose kind reception of them gave me as much pleasure as the gifts gave them. 121 .

sir. sir. so long as I didn't skulk? or rather. or breakers ahead. sir. and warm o' nights." he said. and readin' books.--it 'ud be no mystery for a man like me who'd been brought up hard. "Aunt Ethelwyn didn't want to go till to-morrow." answered Jane. and never. though perhaps I might have done so if I had had more influence over her than I had. sir--leastways I don't mean able to say it right off as you do. come to be the shock o' corn fully ripe-- leastways yallow and white enough outside if there bean't much more than milk inside it yet. bosun. what does it signify whether I go to the bottom or not. Think what a Christmas Day to me without auntie. "She said something about coming to church this morning. I wanted to gain some influence over her. brace. It 'ud be no wonder now for a man like me. "so long as the Great Captain has His way. "It 'mazes me. "They went anyhow. She would come. and with Sarah! But I don't mean to go home till it's quite dark. by your own confession this blessed mornin'. "But what will the old lady say when she finds you brought the young lady here?" asked Mrs Rogers. and knew that the way to render my desire impossible of fulfilment would be. but not to know it. So I thought it was time to leave my best Christmas wishes and take myself away. but just to mind Him and stand by halliard. It was very cross of old grannie. there's scarce a wave on the Atlantic but knows Old Rogers!" He made the parenthesis with a laugh. And that's the way I account for it. For." "Besides. she'll never know it. "Had they actually to go away on the morning of Christmas Day?" I said. I mean to stop here with dear Old Rogers--that I do. and tossed about well-nigh all the world over-- why." 122 . Old Rogers came with me to the mill-stream as usual. sunk rock. "a gentleman o' your age and bringin' up to know all that you tould us this mornin'. is just past my comprehension. or hang on by the leeward earing for that matter. "It 'ud be a shame of a man like me not to know all as you said this mornin'. goin' to the college." said Judy. sir. how ever you come to know all those things. or wheel. So I took no notice of the impropriety. devil. and in came young Brownrigg. and things is done to His mind? But how ever a man like you. you see. whether they had to do it or not. a clergyman is not a moral policeman. and began anew." said Judy. to find fault with what in her was a very small affair. Besides. sir. whatever it might be in one who had been properly brought up. I did not see that it was my part to read Judy a lecture here." The latch was gently lifted. But grannie said they must go at once. mother. sir. after the Almighty had been at such pains to beat it into my hard head just to trust in Him and fear nothing and nobody--captain." and here the old man took off his hat and looked up. except by a double portion o' the Spirit. knowin' what it was to be downright hungry. "I didn't bring her.

sir. but I suppose my needle. which you may be sure didn't want the time I take tellin' of it." "I am very glad you did interrupt me." "And did you save the child?" "Oh yes." "And wasn't the captain pleased?" "I believe he was. But if I should fail any time. But when I had got it right over my head. And a meaning can occasionally be even better CONVEYED by less accurate words. and there. for I could only just wag my flippers. sir. old friend. sir? Ah! He can rebuke a man for unbelief by giving him the desire of his heart. And wasn't it more than I deserved. so as to skewer it to my jersey. you shan't lose it. and in as strait a jacket as ever poor wretch in Bedlam." "Surely. "How my knowledge may stand the test of further and severer trials remains to be seen. and it was cold. Although I knew enough about a ship to understand the old man. And that moment something went. I Ve lost summat I 'll never hear more. And there was I. I believe I swore--the Lord forgive me!--but it was trying. herring-boning a split in a spare jib. when I interrupted of you. the jacket was off. and then the cry: 'Child overboard!' There was but one child. He may be still a man of little faith. was the child. going fast astarn. sir. in the water. the captain's. sir." "And more than that: failure does not necessarily prove any one to be a hypocrite of no faith. sir. for one moment I disbelieved in Him. And then the Lord gave me my way lest I should blaspheme Him in thy wicked heart. and neither trust in God nor do my duty. but pretty high in the water. But you was a sayin' of something. But that is of small consequence. as soon as I was overboard. for we were far south of the line at the time. So I rose on the water. sure enough. I sprang to the bulwark. in the hurry. sir. what I have said to you remains true all the same. and there was I feelin' as if every stroke I took was as wide as the mainyard. Mr Walton. whoever may come short. blind as a Dutchman in a fog. and began to pull it over my head--for it was wide. I was sitting just aft the foremast. I thought." "I'm not though." 123 ." I returned. there it stuck. and that was the easiest way. I remember once that my faith broke down-- just for one moment. And that's a better rebuke than tying him up to the gratings. Rogers?" "A scream came from the quarter-deck. "I will try to tell you how I come to know about these things as I do. I had no time to repent. sir. However that may be. And what was far worse. sir. sir." "How was that." "No. surely. He gave me a glass o' grog." "That it do. I was going to tell you how I think I came to understand a little about the things I was talking of to-day. and I do say that's worse than swearing--in a hurry I mean. only to thank God. I found that I ought to ha' pulled my jacket off afore I gave the bulwark the last kick. aboard. I am not sure that I have properly represented his sea-phrase. sir. How it happened I can't think to this day. so long as I give his meaning. had got into my jacket.

with the help of Weir the carpenter." "You are no more ignorant than you ought to be. I did not give one whole lecture even to Walter Raleigh. and there is a new one behind coming up now which I may be honoured to present in its turn to some of this grand company-- this cloud of witnesses to the truth in our own and other lands." I may as well mention here that this led to week-evening lectures in the barn. grand fellow as he was. for I never wished to confine them to the English heroes. The object of these lectures was to make the people acquainted with the true heroes of their own country--men great in themselves. no. and others were tortured to death. "I only want to tell you one little thing he says in a letter to a younger brother whom he wanted to turn out as fine a fellow as possible." I went on. while my first two lectures were on Philip Sidney. he seems to have really been the most accomplished man generally of his time in the world. as it were. and plenty of cane-chairs besides--for I always disliked forms in the middle of a room. Rogers. sir." "It may be. sir?" "No. in writing this account of our talk: "At horsemanship. that's it." 124 . and without that I should not have learned it at all. and a book that is called La Gloria del Cavallo. from the fact that. when you exercise it. you're thinking of Sydney Smith. or rather. I wanted chiefly to set forth the men that could rule themselves. for a new generation has come up since I came here. Writing to this brother he says--" I could not repeat the words exactly to Old Rogers." "I think I see what you mean. "Meantime. And the kind of choice I made may be seen by those who know about both. I am an ignorant man. some of whom subdued kingdoms. read Crison Claudio. But I have not finished these lectures yet. sir. with fixed seats all round it. first of all. riding--for Sir Philip was the best horseman in Europe in his day. sir. wasn't he. if you please?" "You've heard of Sir Philip Sidney. as. which. indeed. old man as I am--not however without retracing passed ground sometimes. Well. all things taken together. that my mother gave me. Old Rogers?" "He was a great joker. I am going on still. I will come down some evening and tell you about him. for he was just one of your sort. for the same cause and with the same result. after a noble fashion. I had got to learn it all without book. It is about horses.--But it is time you should know him. withal that you may join the thorough contemplation of it with the exercise. sir. and so shall you profit more in a month than others in a year. was changed into a comfortable room. "That's it. haven't you. though you know I had my old Bible. but I think it better to copy them exactly.

there is no end to the way in which the one lights up the other. In fact. The ice from both sides came towards the middle. and so to keep a look-out on the bilge-pump. I have more to say about such things than you could expect. though I've got my clay and my straw together." I said. after all. making the wheel-- soft green and mossy when it revolved in the gentle sun-mingled summer-water--look like its own gray skeleton now. you never can know a thing till you do do it. leaving an empty space between. sir--knowing nothing of logic at all?" said the old man." "How am I to find out then. his rough worn face summered over with his child-like smile. without your experience. though I hope not. "but I will leave you something to think about till we meet again. if I can find out an explanation to satisfy me. though I thought I had a tidy fancy about some things beforehand. 125 . sir. But if we had not both had both. You'll find the story told both in the sixteenth chapter of St Matthew and the eighth of St Mark. The sun was getting low." "Of course I will. for not knowing what He meant when He warned them against the leaven of the Pharisees. I think I understand you quite well. old friend. as I found out when I went to sea. and I should want all my time to see my other friends before dinner. But it is not at all clear to me now. hurrying away as if in fear of its life from the white death of the frost. and the drip from the thatch of the mill over it in the sun. and I more of the theory. that is. It's better not to be quite sure that all your seams are caulked." "I pray God to make both our bricks into stones of the New Jerusalem. "I must go." "Well. just as well as a great one containing the same principle. except you do it. I want to know what you think about it. sir?" During the most of this conversation. To know about a thing is of no use. I never was content without trying at least to understand things. Find out why our Lord was so much displeased with the disciples. and they stick pretty well as yet. half frozen over. sir. "I only mean it comparatively. You know besides that a small matter in which a principle is involved will reveal the principle. so as to put me right. Old Rogers. and you try to practise them at the same time as far as you do understand them. is that. whom He knew to be ignorant men. I'll try. my brick. The only difference. had frozen in the shadow into icicles. You have had more of the practice. Besides. along which the dark water showed itself. and that a most important one. and it may crumble away yet. for I would not willingly offend Mrs Pearson on Christmas Day by being late. especially as I guessed she was using extraordinary skill to prepare me a more than comfortable meal. I suppose that is how. and if they are practical things. The wheel stood motionless. we were standing by the mill-water. I do not see the connecting links of our Lord's logic in the rebuke He gives them. you know. we should neither of us have known anything about the matter. if attended to. if I'm wrong. isn't it. if you will tell me what you think about it afterwards. which hung in long spikes from the spokes and the floats. is not half so well baked as yours.

--To these people at the Hall. But certainly I did believe that it was more like the truth to say the world was made for the poor than to say that it was made for the rich. And. But my feelings were not quite under my own control. By the time I had got through the rest of my calls. Should I be honoured to help only the poor of the flock? Was I to do nothing for the rich. I say. But the farmer liai given me good reason to hope some progress in him after the way he had given in about Jane Rogers. How much happier I was than when I came such a few months before! The only pang I felt that day was as I passed the monsters on the gate leading to Oldcastle Hall. and has been. but the thought came. Mr Stoddart seemed nothing more than a dilettante in religion. and say with justice. as if the rich had not quite fair play. Perhaps my reader will say. I knew better than this you know. while it cannot really hide them. and without much chance for the cultivation of their own." I answered. but the old lady was still so dreadfully repulsive to me that it troubled my conscience to feel how I disliked her. I did not seem acceptable. while for Miss Oldcastle. And therefore I longed the more to do something for these whom I considered the rich of my flock. It vanished the moment I sought to lay hands upon it. I might in time do something with Judy. for a moment. Positively I had caught his eye during the sermon that very day. I simply did not understand her yet. shaking hands with Old Rogers. and doubtless will be so hard to enter into the kingdom of heaven? And it seemed to me at the moment that the world must be made for the poor: they had so much more done for them to enable them to inherit it than the rich had. only to love every one who comes within our reach as ourselves. my reader. I trust I should have behaved impartially had the necessity for any choice arisen. as thoughts will come sometimes. as well as in the arts and sciences--music always excepted. as if it knew quite well it had no business there. that I ought to have been as anxious about poor Farmer Brownrigg as about the beautiful lady.--It seemed to me. As far as regards the discharge of my duties. for it was dreadful to think of their being poor inside instead of outside. "There are many things which a little learning. And she was so beautiful! I thought her more. the fogs were rising from the streams and the meadows to close in upon my first Christmas Day in my own parish. coming from the houses of the warm-hearted poor. may make you less ready to see all at once. as it were--as if they were sent into the world chiefly for the sake of the cultivation of the virtues of the poor. besides--but I will not be a hypocrite. told to love everybody alike. and seeing I did not certainly take the same interest in Mr Brownrigg. and then springing across the brook with my carpet-bag in my hand. I will at least be honest and confess it. And we are nowhere. But I never appeared to make the least progress towards any real acquaintance with her thoughts and feelings. 126 . beautiful every time I saw her. for whom it is.

He had served on shore in Egypt under General Abercrombie. "whether I did right or not. I saw on the following days between it and the new year. "Would you like a little wine and water?" I said. I beg him to consider the matter. putting his nand in his pocket. And so ended my Christmas holiday with my people. 127 . "Please." He came directly and stood before me. my darling. but I always took the man I came to first--French or English. who do the best they can to make original sin an actual fact by training children down in the way they should not go. I wonder whether my old friend Dr Duncan was right. Mrs Pearson knowing that I never eat such things. I fear. "mother gave me some goodies. and the wave and heave offerings." he said. I made Mrs Pearson sit down with me to dinner. But there is one little incident which I ought to relate before I close this chapter . and made another round of visits. looking very shy. I doubt if any explanation of mine would greatly subserve his enlightenment. sir. "No. after the fighting was over on each of the several occasions--the French being always repulsed--exercised his office amongst the wounded left on the field of battle. thank you. an orange at another. with an application to the ignorant nurses and mothers of English babies. and a hot chestnut at a third. that he might see me eat them before he left the house. including the burnt offering. and clinging first to the door and then to the wall. and which I am ashamed of having so nearly forgotten."--I only know that my heart did not wait for the opinion of my head on the matter." "I did not press him to take it." Does any reader doubt what I did or said upon this? I said. Mrs Pearson came in and told me that little Gerard Weir wanted to see me. and the little fellow entered. sir. sir. Then I went out again. Meantime. When we had finished our dinner. my dear boy. I loved the old man the more that he did as he did. I never tasted wine. I am forcibly restraining myself from yielding to the temptation to set forth my reasons. "and sit down by me. And I have ever since had my servants to dine with me on Christmas Day. "Come." he went on after a pause. and had of course." I said. and I kept them till I saw you come back. This digression is. for unhappily there was no dessert. unpardonable.--"I do not know. But as a question of casuistry. If then he cannot come to a conclusion concerning it. And the dear child went off radiant. coming in for a glass of wine at one table. Those whom I could not see that day. and here they are. which would result in a half- hour's sermon on the Jewish dispensation. If anybody cannot understand why I did so. and I was sitting alone drinking a class of claret before going out again. "Thank you. for Christmas Day was not one to dine alone upon." and I ate them up every one of them. I am doubtful about its answer. I asked her to show him in.

For those who were then older than myself are now "old dwellers in those high countries" where there is no age. and I shall soon go to them. "Reprove not a scorner. After this Christmas-tide. and he will love thee. I seldom saw her--only. It is of little use to reprove the sinner. It will not appear strange that I should linger so long upon the first few months of my association with a people who. however. He refused. and more seldom still upon either side. and did not distribute my FAVOURS equally. When our Lord was requested to act as umpire between two brothers. only it was not smooth like hers. "Take heed. should be slow to take offence. No doubt I was always in danger of giving unknown offence to those who were ready to fancy that I neglected them. now that I am an old man. I found myself in closer relationship to my parishioners. especially the good. of all men. A clergyman. only wisdom." But I took great care about INTERFERING. will teach me yet niore. And it must sometimes be his duty to speak severely to those. I bethink me: Desert may not touch His shoe-tie: Love may kiss His feet. caught a glimpse of her now and then as I passed through the house. interfere with the work before me. at the Hall. indeed. for its whiteness came apparently from the small-pox. upon the side whence the request came. yet the servant must be as his Master. he will never be free or strong to reprove sin. How glad I shall be to see my Old Rogers again. the offence I gave was easily got rid of. who. of course. I visited. as he taught me upon earth. I did not come to like Mrs Oldcastle better. if she had any. however imperfect they may be. for if he does. lest he hate thee. rebuke a wise man. But as I never took offence. Her face was yet whiter than that of her mistress. and the cottages in the village. as at the farmhouses in the country. look to me like my own children. which had so thickened the skin that no blood. But He spoke and said." Now. CHAPTER XII . The clergyman must never be a partisan. in heaven! But I must not let the reverie which' always gathers about the feather-end of my pen the moment I take it up to write these recollections. though the best of men is unworthy to loose the latchet of His shoe. but it is worth while sometimes to reprove those who have a regard for righteousness. who are turning their faces the wrong way. could shine through. I remember that the sinful woman might yet do as she would with His sacred feet. 128 . I thank my God. And there was one woman in the house whom I disliked still more: that Sarah whom Judy had called in my hearing a white wolf. though I would interfere upon request--not always. Ah me! while I write it. and beware of covetousness. THE AVENUE.

anything. I cannot help it. than the opening of any number of intellectual windows towards the circumambient truth. whatever it is. As but of a whole changeful season only one day. I must add. I have not much more to tell my readers about this winter. and yet the man's nature seemed cold. 129 . For to teach speculation instead of devotion. to reveal. She seemed to me always like one walking in a "watery sunbeam. for one reason. instead of making haste towards the perfect day. for THE sunlight. It was sunshiny. word instead of deed. I thought it would do himself more good to mingle with his humble fellows in the attempt to do them a trifle of good. so of the various interviews with my friends. or. He had always something friendly to say. I say. at least. it is necessary that the mind should rest upon the matter. is surely ruinously repressive to the nature that is meant for sunbright activity both of heart and hand. but he could not grow anything. trying to make herself feel all the glory people said was in the light. I began. or was trying to take it. but not therefore the less mischievous. and the whole flow of the current of my life. I found afterwards that several things had combined to bring about this condition. no doubt. nothing more of nature or human nature occurs to me worth recording. but not sunny. Now I had. The poorest success. from the nature of the thing. I will pass on to the summer season as rapidly as I may." without knowing that it was but the wintry pledge of a summer sun at hand. should I. it may be. I was on my way to the Hall to see Mr Stoddart. but one moment in which the time seemed to burst into its own blossom. mysticism instead of love. but if he does. He was a great reader of mystical books. His intellect was rather a lambent flame than a genial warmth. I wanted to ask him whether something could not be done beyond his exquisite playing to rouse the sense of music in my people. She took it. will cling to the memory. provided the attempt has been genuine. which. And when I came to see that he had had more than any one else to do with the education of Miss Oldcastle. but if I should succeed. never seemed to me to mean. Nor did I make much progress with Mr Stoddart. I understood her a little better. for the sake of others. I confess. I believed that nothing helps you so much to feel as the taking of what share may. He could make things. to understand her a little better. My reader will think that I am always coming round to Miss Oldcastle. or. will enable one to enter into any art ten times better than before. My chief perplexity continued to be how he could play the organ as he did. little hope of moving Mr Stoddart in the matter. because. be possible to you. endeavour to make it understood by and by. during that winter. and I know she will forgive me. and saw that her so-called education had been in a great measure repression--of a negative sort. though the early spring will detain me with the relation of just a single incident. and often some theosophical theory to bring forward. in order to feel.

" "We returned yesterday. now sweeping them all one way as if the multitude of tops would break loose and rush away like a wild river. hearing of my footing with my parishioners generally. with only a shawl drawn over her head? The reader may wonder how I should know her in this attire in the dusk. Could there have been anything in my address. I believe." I said. But the noise of the wind had prevented her from hearing my approach. and tenderness had not come. was by her side in a moment. and when I uttered her name. which was evidently disagreeable to her. that made her fear I was ready to become intrusive? Or might it not be that. First. and. and allowing them to recover themselves and stand upright. while overhead the stars were twinkling. turning. The wind was blustering in gusts among the trees. Suffice it to say that I did recognise her at once. whirled about me as if it wanted me to go and join in its fierce play. distressed." 130 . than to presume upon my position as clergyman. in my behaviour. and where there was not the smallest probability of finding her. "I have startled you dreadfully. however unconscious of it I was. so far from the house. I presume. to hide her tremor." "Not in the least. "I beg your pardon. It was just beginning to grow dusk." "I fancied you and Mrs Oldcastle in London." she replied. I think they all GAVE me the relation I occupied towards them personally. and so. Miss Oldcastle struggling against the wind. even with the lowliest of my flock. any poor innocent "bush was supposed a bear. with tones and motions of indignant expostulation. "You will find him at home. For the wind was cold without being keen. she started violently. but without moving. I thought it better to leave apology. whither their journeys had been not infrequent since Christmas-tide. swaying them suddenly and fiercely like a keen passion. I had supposed her with her mother in London. in a walk that ran alongside of the avenue. I must acknowledge. and still with a curve in her form like the neck of a frayed horse. If I had been watching her very thoughts she could hardly have looked more indignant. she was prepared to resent any assumption of clerical familiarity with her. "I was on my way to call on Mr Stoddart. which blew straight down the path upon her. and passing between two great tree-trunks. Suddenly I saw. The grass and all the ground about the trees were very wet. and the east was one gray mass. There was just one cold bar of light in the west. and next-- why should she be fighting with the wind." I said. Rigour was past.--But I had never seen her look so haughty as now. The time seemed more dreary somehow than the winter." For I need not tell my reader that nothing was farther from my intention. The cause of my amazement was twofold. and now subsiding as suddenly. to my amazement. drew herself up very haughtily. and through an opening in some under- wood. and bursting from the trees every now and then with a roar as of a sea breaking on distant sands. in part.--She was always a little haughty with me. and speak of indifferent things.

and lose it yet more easily. saw by the starlight the dim form of Miss Oldcastle standing before me. nay. and bitterness. especially those made from the will without sustaining impulse. I left the house in a gloomy mood. Stoddart seemed to listen with some interest to what I said. Still she stood as before. and I left him with the conviction that he would do nothing to help me. as if he had been unnatural and untrue. restless eyes looking out of her white face from under gray eyebrows. as my reader may suppose. my Father.--And so I was walking down the avenue. however. when I in my turn started at the sound of a woman's voice. and putting himself in false relations by false efforts for good. for that is to be false. decay." I bowed and walked on. But so it was. I was brooding over the littleness of all I could do. I know this all came from selfishness--thinking about myself instead of about God and my neighbour. She seemed as if she would walk in the opposite direction. "May I not walk with you to the house?" "I am not going in just yet. Thou art ever the same. and I rise above my small as well as my great troubles by remembering Thy peace. when the unpleasant parts of it crowd upon him. and it is not required. I found. with my head bent to the ground. The thought of God had not come. not to show what we do not feel or think. as I had feared. come back upon him with a feeling of unreality. for what else could I do? I cannot say that I enjoyed leaving her behind me in the gathering dark. I know I ought to have looked up to God and said: "These things do not reach to Thee. Nor was it with a light heart that I bore her repulse as I slowly climbed the hill to the house. However. and looking up. He would take SOME kind of form easily. Sarah opened the glass door. I could not bring him to the point of making any practical suggestion. although Mr. where it was now very dark. glossy. though it was pretty sure to come before I got home. it may be wrong. the wind blowing her about with no more reverence than if she had been a bush of privet. or of responding to one made by me. a little personal mortification is wholesome--though I cannot say either that I derived much consolation from the reflection. Yet during the whole of our interview he had not opposed a single word I said. for that would only have estranged us. I did not volunteer any information." "Are you protected enough for sucn a night?" "I enjoy the wind. and feeling that sickness which sometimes will overtake a man in the midst of the work he likes best. her black. and his own efforts." But I did not come to myself all at once. He was like clay too much softened with water to keep the form into which it has been modelled. 131 . that. I did not show all my dissatisfaction. to show all you feel or think: what is required of us is. I knew at once by her look beyond me that she had expected to find me accompanied by her young mistress. I made a movement in the direction of the house. and Thy unchangeable Godhood to me and all Thy creatures.

You only scattered a swarm of bats that kept flapping their skinny wings in my face. if you do. anyhow. I annoyed you with my rudeness." she said. "You are quite mistaken in that. And." "I fancy"--and here I know she smiled. you will never forget it." "Not outside. "for you must confess I startled you now. though how I know I do not know--"I fancy I have made that even. I am not yet." She seemed to make the last remark just to prevent the conversation from returning to her as its subject. I only thought what a blundering awkward fellow I was to startle you as I did." "What do you mean? There are no bats at this time of the year. besides. You must be a real lover of nature to walk in the dark wind." "I wish I were. In 'winter and rough weather' they creep inside.--Yours is no doubt thankless labour sometimes. All this time the wind had been still. Miss Oldcastle. I thought you were too good." "You did. And I thank you for driving the bats away in the meantime. Of course one meets with a disappointment sometimes. and that will be ten times more satisfactory than if I were to explain it to you. You have to forgive me." "'I've heard of hearts unkind." "May I recommend you to think about it? You will be sure to find it out for yourself. And how should they know what you mean till they are different themselves?--You remember what Wordsworth says on this very subject in his poem of Simon Lee?"-- "I do not know anything of Wordsworth. Was it fancy? Or. as Judy called her? I spoke aloud: "But it is cruel to keep you standing here in such a night." 132 . I did not think so." "I like it." "Will you repeat the lines again?" I did so." "You make me the more ashamed of myself to think that perhaps my rudeness had a share in bringing them. kind deeds With coldness still returning. but it was in a very different way. Alas! the gratitude of men Hath oftener left me mourning." "Indeed. as the wind moved the shrubbery. I beg your pardon. I was very rude to you. did I see a white face? And could it be the White Wolf. She spoke first. but that is only when they don't know what you mean." "Ah! I ought to understand you. And now all the bright portions of my work came up before me. I hope to be some day. Good night. you know. On the contrary. "Mr Walton. But I did not think you were ever like that. pleasantly.'" "I do not quite see what he means. Now it rose with a slow gush in the trees. the thanks I get are far more than commensurate with the labour.

I met Miss Oldcastle several times before the summer. regardless now of Mr Stoddart's DOUGHINESS. 133 . I gazed into the darkness after her. So we parted. and would have stood longer had I not still suspected the proximity of Judy's Wolf. if INTERVIEW it could be called where neither could see more than the other's outline. though she disappeared at the distance of a yard or two. but her old manner remained. or rather had returned. which made me turn and go home. for there had been nothing of it in the tone of her voice in that interview.

and the church was always clean and ready for me after about mid-day. as it yielded to the slow water. The grounds about the Hall seemed the incarnation of a summer which had taken years to ripen to its perfection. with a book in my hand. But I will venture to attempt a partial explanation in a few words. This was. so that I could be alone there as soon as I pleased. with its moss and its dip and drip. In this manner I prepared almost all my sermons that summer. and along the sides of the river. breathing out the odours of dreamful sleep. and which yet I liked to have with me. The very grass seemed to have aged into perfect youth in that "haunt of ancient peace. delicate-coloured grass to be seen. The clumsy pollards were each one mass of undivided green. Green came instead of white. varied with the buttercup and the celandine. By slow degrees the summer bloomed. The long loops of the laburnum hung heavy with gold towards the sod below. The mill wheel had regained its knotty look. although I prepared them thus in the open country. delicate-bladed. and now crept out again to adorn the summer. CHAPTER XIII . I used now to wander about in the fields and woods. Gnarled old trees of may stood like altars of smoking perfume. to spend the Saturday evening. the meadow-sweet stood amongst the reeds at the very edge of the water. rainbows instead of icicles. as if the snow which had covered it in winter had sunk in and gathered warmth from the life of the tree. But. before I preached them. It would take more space than my limits will afford to explain thoroughly why I liked to do this. not in my study. YOUNG WEIR. This custom of mine was known to the sexton and his wife. the daisies shone in all the meadows. at which I often did not look the whole day. which would have let it alone. Down in the valley below. and the air was full of the fragrance of the young leaves of the limes. I had another custom. which perhaps may appear strange to some." for surely nowhere else was such thick. 134 . or each like one million-petalled flower of upheaved whiteness--or of tender rosiness. but that there was no other way out of the land to the sea. And I seemed somehow to come back with most upon those days in which I did not read. but in the church. while in damp places grew large pimpernels.

with the lowly green beneath my feet. For I always found the open air the most genial influence upon me for the production of religious feeling and thought. bringing order out of disorder and light out of darkness. like all the church-architects I know anything about in the present day. and late in the day as well as early in the morning would climb the mountain to be alone with His Father. I know. This fine old church in which I was honoured to lead the prayers of my people. and gentle gladness in all sober things. that there He might work the one will of the Father in heaven. had I been an architect. I had been led to try whether it might not be so with me by the fact that our Lord seemed so much to delight in the open air. The place soothed me. I honoured the place. and had I had to build a church--I do not in the least know how I should have built it--I am certain it would have been very different from this. and I loved it. I rejoiced in its history. tuned me to a solemn mood--one of self-denial. if I only contemplated it under the high untroubled blue. we were in a sense united to those who in them had before us lifted up holy hands without wrath or doubting. I found that it helped to give a reality to everything that I thought about. and the wind blowing on me to remind me of the Spirit that once moved on the face of the waters. There was a gloom about it--a sacred gloom. like us. and was now seeking every day a fuller entrance into my heart. Else I should be a mere imitator. had lifted up at least prayerful hands without hatred or despair. I delighted to think that even by the temples made with hands outlasting these bodies of ours. 135 . But. was not the expression of the religious feeling of my time. and with many more who. but such gloom as was not in my feeling when I talked to my flock.

and. and now on the aspiring peaks of the organ. Now my study was to my mind. there on a corbel. to behold whose witnessing might well rouse all that was human and divine in us to chose our part with them and their Lord. and explain to my people that this did not mean persons looking at. and the tree-music. or preach that sermon.--to find an easy passage between the open-air mood and the church mood. pacing up and down the solemn old place. and the colour-harmony. my sermon was studied. so as to be able to bring into the church as much of the fresh air. crossing a country road only now and then. and thought when I walked. 136 . I thus made the place a cell of thought and prayer. I had not walked far. hanging my thoughts here on a crocket. as a lack of harmony between the surroundings wherein my thoughts took form. or. But not one atom the more did I incline to the evil fancy that God was more in the past than in the present. I remember well enough that I was going to preach about the cloud of witnesses. I thought all my sermon over again in the afternoon sun as it shone slantingly through the stained window over Lord Eagleye's tomb. I found the forms around me so interwoven with the forms of my thought. that He is more within the walls of the church. and in the failing light thereafter and the gathering dusk of the twilight. witnessing our behaviour--not so could any addition be made to the awfulness of the fact that the eye of God was upon us--but witnesses to the truth. and the gladness over all. My reader will see then that there was. I am sure I could find an expression exactly fitted to my meaning). that I felt almost like one of the old monks who had built the place.--I had never had a room large enough to satisfy me before. in order to this. and the surroundings wherein I had to put these forms into the garments of words.--When I came home. or seek to turn backwards one step from a living Now to an entombed and consecrated Past. so little did I find any check to my thought or utterance from its unfitness for the expression of my individual modernism. and I read when I sat. I therefore sought to bridge over this difference (if I understood music. as it were. as might be possible. scoffs or applause. than in the unwalled sky and earth. not so much a discord. I had been out all the morning. and then betook myself to my Saturday's resort. I had my Greek Testament with me. whether a crown or a rack. One lovely Saturday. come of it what might. my path lying through fields and copses. And when the next day came. I had an early dinner. to use a homelier phrase. for I had sat in the various places longer than I had walked. people who did what God wanted them to do. now on the gable- point over which Weir's face would gaze next morning.

" And I knew that when we seek glory for ourselves. Sometimes I went up into the pulpit and sat there. But I heard nothing more. At length I felt tired. but from the great window of the west. All through the slowly-fading afternoon. For as the great church is made up of numberless communities. I sat upright in my chair and listened. as a lamp which has been flaming all the day with light unseen becomes a glory in the room when the sun is gone down. and concluded I had deceived myself. so is the great shining orb of witness-bearers made up of millions of lesser orbs. when the colours are richest and the shadows long and lengthening. and good. and would go home. And I thought how many witnesses to the truth had knelt in those ancient pews. "So. lest I should burn the fuel of it out before I came to warm the people with it. till the church only gloomed about me. And I remember that just as I thought thus. and turn my mind rather away from than towards the subject of witness-bearing any more for that night. It was now almost quite dark out of doors--at least as dark as it would be. I rose to go home and have some tea. Suddenly through the gloom I thought I heard a moan and a sob. thinking what hymns would harmonize best with the things I wanted to make my people think about. and had no shine. and with a loveliness of its own. for I knew that the glory to come of it is to God only--"that men may glorify their Father in heaven." And I felt no fear of vanity in such a prayer. I must have been in a happy mood that Saturday afternoon. looking on the ancient walls which had grown up under men's hands that men might be helped to pray by the visible symbol of unity which the walls gave." And the feeble light of the glowworm is yet light. So I left the church by my vestry-door. which I closed behind me. which little Gerard Weir wanted to help God to paint. All men and women of true heart bear individual testimony to the truth of God. I paced my solemn old-thoughted church. the autumn of the day. the light goes out. and the Horror that dwells in darkness breathes cold upon our spirits. Yet I lingered for a few moments in the vestry." I said. pure. for everything pleased me and made me happier. And this red light did not come from any work of man's device. and then I found my spirit burning up the clearer. saying. my eye was caught first by a yellow light that gilded the apex of the font-cover. After a few moments. and then by a red light all over a white marble tablet in the wall--the red of life on the cold hue of the grave. 137 . And I lingered on till the night had come. which had been wrought like a flame or a bursting blossom: it was so old and worn. and should have to blow its embers instead of flashing its light and heat upon them in gladness. "let my light shine before men. and all the church-forms about me blended and harmonised graciously with the throne and footstool of God which I saw through the windows. I never could tell which. and took my way along the path through the clustering group of graves. O Lord. and that the voice of the Spirit of God might be heard exhorting men to forsake the evil and choose the good. "I have trusted and found Him faithful.

He returned no answer. and. along with the whole of his expression. I knew that his grief could hardly be incurable. sir." I said. He was of middle size. for the dew had been falling heavily. He had blue eyes that looked full at me. and let us see what can be done for you. Are you that son?" "Yes. and was therefore the more emboldened to press for the knowledge of his story. but evidently not full grown. then. sir. and his countenance. was it?" "No. and submitted to be led away. His dress was very decent. It was my mother's." "Where is your home?" "In the village.[sic] And I can't break my promise now. betokened. His face was pale and thin. and if the grief were for the loss of the dead. his dress." answered the youth. Though I did not know whose was the grave." "I would rather not. sir. I approached it. I found him very attractive. and rang for lights and wine." "Why?" "I promised my father a year ago." "I don't doubt it. and his clothes were quite dank. I spoke." returned an almost inaudible voice. You know him very well--Thomas Weir. 138 . brought him into the study. sir. sir." By this time I had perused his person. said. "But you want it. swallowing a rising sob. he refused to take any. I knew that no one had been buried there very lately. but rose at once to his feet. as far as I could judge. it was more than probably aroused to fresh vigour by recent misfortune. Again I heard a sob. "No. And there lay something dark upon one of the grassy mounds. "Then what is the matter? Your father is a good friend of mine. an honest and sensitive nature. And as soon as I saw that. I stooped. "Come with me. and would tell you you might trust me. But when the wine came." "Then your father is still alive?" "Yes." "Take some for my sake. sir." I then saw that it was a youth--perhaps scarcely more than a boy. This time I was sure of it. and revealed a likeness to his father. "Can I be of any use to you?" I said. made him sit down in my easy-chair. I took him the shortest road to my house through the shrubbery. indeed." "That wasn't your father's grave I found you upon." "Ah! He told me he had a son in London. But you won't believe me any more than my father. when I left home that I would not drink anything stronger than water. and taking the figure by the arm. "No. I don't. but it did not move. sir.

would not. for you know the truth has a force of its own. We are both hungry. but not his deed and himself together. I would not let him say a word till he had made a good meal. "I cannot promise to believe whatever you say." 139 . Mrs Pearson. which had risen. and you may take what time you please. which. and not sensual people at all. But I will ring for tea first. "I will. he exclaimed. reduce him to the despair of Macbeth. as I judged. if there were any shame in the recital. sir?" "Your father may have been too much troubled by your story to be able to do it justice. nearly full." he answered. "But if my father would not believe me. I like you too much already to be in great danger of doubting you. and indeed it has always been to me a marvel how the feelings and the appetites affect each other. "About two hours ago. At last I thought I had better not offer him any more. There was a certain refinement in it. But I must begin at the beginning. "Come. when. for I dare say you have not made any promise about that. Few troubles will destroy a growing lad's hunger. After the tea-things had been taken away. and plenty of toast. I saw by the unconsciously eager way in which he looked at the eatables." Mrs Pearson gave a questioning look at the lad. try me. I have nothing more to do to-night. feeling that he could contemplate his deed. "When did you arrive from London?" I asked. and departed to do her duty. When she returned with the tray. even after we were left alone. quite hungry. and the moon." A faint smile flickered on his face." "Bring tea. he would yet tell me the truth. but almost I could. I put the candles out. while we were at tea. It was delightful to see how he ate." I said. I had thought that he might possibly find it easier to tell his story in the moonlight. and so. sir. by too much revelation. and that cold chicken and ham. that he had had nothing for some time. a quality of dialogue which indicated thought. It is not a bit like your father to be unfair." "I thought so till to-night. He was evidently beginning to feel a little more comfortable." "No. I have known grief actually make people. sir. "To know my deed. And if you tell me the truth. I suppose. how can I expect you to do so." Somehow his talk prepossessed me still more in his favour. whatever I might have to think of it when told. 'twere best not know myself." "Begin where you like. And so much the less chance of your believing me. shone into the room. and I became more and more certain that.

and sees that they are attended to. they did not differ so much from the form of my own. This he did not like so much. So. "that I was not always satisfied with what was going on about me.--I have not much of the dramatic in me. dressed in black. He had filled a place in the employment of Messrs----& Co. and I doing nothing till she should have made up her mind. knowing only the prices marked for the sale of the goods. seeing there is no necessity for it. as I found afterwards. they took him at length into the shop to wait behind the counter. I caught sight of the eyes of the shop-walker. lost his provincialisms. He had as yet had no distinct department allotted to him. linen-drapers. His work at first was to accompany one of the carts which delivered the purchases of the day. as it was considered a rise in life. only it would be the liker himself. I presume. and being. knowing nothing about it. which they say in the shop is only copper gilt. he told his tale. and tried to forget him. made no objection to the change. with a great gold chain. etc. and so I could honestly say it did not concern me. indeed. and I am rather a flat teller of stories on that account. but. but was moved from place to place. He is a fat man. He seemed to himself to get on pretty well. therefore. etc. I could not tell what to make of it. but from that day I often caught him watching me. the lady examining the handkerchiefs. as they say. He was standing staring at me. But. I know. as if I had been a customer suspected of shop-lifting. large silk-mercers. happening to look up while we both stood silent. had not caught up many cockneyisms instead. attempt to give the tale in his own words. But one day. 140 . I had nothing to do with anything else. for all the trades are mingled now. Still I only thought he was very disagreeable. a reader of the best books that came in his way.. and within a few months believed that he was found generally useful. He soon learned all the marks on the goods intended to be understood by the shopmen. and I. I shall not. But that doesn't matter." he said. eager to find faith in me. said nothing. in London.. But. but. "I confess. I presume because he showed himself to be a smart lad. I took care to be straightforward for my part. But nothing came plainly in my way. while I was showing a lady some handkerchiefs which were marked as mouchoirs de Paris--I don't know if I pronounce it right. and gave rather a wild expression to his eyes. I mean I could not help doubting if everything was done on the square. sir--she said she did not believe they were French cambric. when I think of it. for he had. The moon lighted up his pale face as he told it. and. according as the local pressure of business might demand. sitting by the window in the moonlight. as they call the man who shows customers where to go for what they want..

You may go. There. for his sneer made me angry. I do believe. and though I could not then tell where. After such impudence I couldn't in conscience give you one.' Then. as I went. Mr---rose to his feet. passed the shop walker. I thought I had seen the ladies before. said they were sorry. I am now almost sure they were Mrs and Miss Oldcastle. B---. calming down a little when he saw I turned to go. young man. I showed them some. now. and. I proceeded to take the shawls up-stairs again. he said. and turning his back to me. whom I had not observed while I was attending to the ladies. and left the shop without buying anything. 'Now.' he answered. for your head will never keep you.' 'What have I done?' I asked in astonishment. There's your quarter's salary. That same evening. 'What do you mean by that. inquiring. 'It'll make up for what you've lost by me. young man.' 'I thought it was for honesty you were getting rid of me.' 'But what could I do?' I said.' he answered. 'Do you think we can afford to keep you here and pay you wages to send people away from the shop without buying? If you do. 'Take your money and be off. 'You 'll know before to-morrow. Mr B. 'YOU're for no good. 'It's not what you've done. You had better pack up your box to-night. "One day--the day before yesterday--two ladies. stood behind a pillar to watch me. I brought the best we had. came into the shop. that's all. They looked at them again. pushing the money towards me. though I did not see him. Mr---. his lips white. They said they were not good enough. And mind you don't refer to me for a character. It was dinner-time. I was sent for to the principal's room. and then.' I said. but the shawls were not good enough. as we were shutting up shop. They wanted better. and most of the men were in the house at their dinner. an old lady and a young one. you're mistaken.' And I left the room at once without waiting for an answer. and walked away. I could not touch it. none of your sauce!' said Mr---. The shop-walker sent me to them. I told them they were the best we had. be off!' he said. 'I suppose that spy. of the Hall. sir. 141 . and wanted to see some more. and pointed to the door. that I might make no mistake. 'Honest people don't think about spies. I told them. The moment I entered.' I said. and wanted to look at some shawls. 'Keep the money. They wanted to buy a cashmere for the young lady. I find. 'You had better take to your hands again. and yet with a vague suspicion of the matter. They asked the price.?' I asked. but what you don't do. young man!' he said with a nasty sneer. and be off to-morrow.'--I believe I said so. as he had been in the way of doing more openly. 'You won't suit us.

and another shook her head. 'What a fool you are." There were three ladies. as if he were short-sighted. and you needn't think it. like his partner. None of those he showed them were good enough." "But there is nothing in all this to be miserable about. I believe you. for the ladies really didn't know one from another. If you knew what I know. And then Mr---was sorry. madam. I told my story--as much of it as he would let me. That's Mr---! and that's what you should have done if you had wanted to keep your place. and Mr---knew that well enough. too. He always was rather hard upon us. if father believed me. sir." "Yes. they cost half as much again. He only said he knew better than that. He chose out three or four shawls. Johnson. indeed." said he. As you're going away. take these shawls away. and I told him all about it. one of my chums came in. "You did your duty. but he laughed.' I'm telling you. and paid just half as much more than he had asked for them the first time." "It would be all right. ladies. for he wasn't above being in the shop. Weir! YOU'll never make your daily bread. here they are!" he said. He won't speak to me. ladies. I'm not good enough. and. and gave them to me to carry down. Your Father in heaven is your friend. "I beg your pardon. I haven't another friend in the world. that he had said they were the best. sir?" he returned." I said. What a stupid blunder to make! And yet they did deceive me. you'd have known better." "Does your father think you do?" "I don't know what he thinks. 142 . sir. "Now. I am quite wrong. He is rather a good fellow that. and said. But you won't catch him in a trap! He's too old a fox for that. folded them differently. They always go by the price you ask." "I don't know that. But you would never have done your duty if He had not been with you. and as I brought them he said. "While I was packing my box." So I went with him. of the nicest patterns. as you will see. They wanted the best Indian shawl they could get. and they all shook their heads. what Johnson told me. And it's very odd it was about shawls. I couldn't bear it. sir. from the very same lot. "you're right. "These are the best imported. sir. sir. eagerly. though he could see as far as any man. I don't want to be idle. Mr---' (that was the same who had just turned me away) 'was serving some ladies himself. I'll tell you." "That's quite true. I could not help being glad to be out of it. 'He looked close down at the shawls. Here." "DO you think so. "These are quite a different thing. I'm sure. He had sent me up-stairs for the shawls. I'm sure if you hadn't been so kind to me. you won't let it out. sir. I don't know what I should have done by this time. at least--but he wouldn't listen to me. and one shook her head." In five minutes they had bought two of them.'--But I assure you. ladies. marked in the very same way. you have. How could you be so stupid? I will fetch the thing you want myself.

of which the lines were unusually sharp. His pale face. sir." "I think I understand." But I was longer gone than I thought I should be. like the rest of us. I know. "I don't say that. I didn't see any other way of doing. instead of making yourself miserable over the consequences of it. was the sole object that reflected the light of the candle to my eyes as I entered the gloomy place. We ought never to feel good. like Gideon's pitcher. I held dark within me the light that would discomfit his Midianites. Don't make a personal thing of it. And now." "Oh. and denied you the success and the praise of cheating. as I might have expected after what had occurred. I do not think I shall be long gone. but without even greeting me. you see. to my surprise. I shall be able to speak more freely if you are not present. What He has given you should make you long for more. sir.--for I believed that. He's not meant to be separated from God. dropped his face again and went on with his work. We are but unprofitable servants at best. and cease to illuminate only glazed pitcher- sides--"What!" I said. and turned his white face full on me--of which. And man apart from God can generate no light. Everything good comes from the Father of lights." "It is not usual with you. only you would have been a poor wretched creature not to do as you did. For there is no light--only darkness--comes from below. Every one that walks in any glimmering of light walks so far in HIS light." "So much the better. I will go to your father at once. "Indeed. And only think then what light He can give you if you will turn to Him and ask for it. with courage and hope. I believe. as he stood erect from his work. however. and jumped up from his seat to go with me. he was ploughing away at a groove. you ought to bear them like a man. But I didn't feel good at all in the matter. "you had better stay where you are." "It's all a humbug!" he said fiercely. You're taken in. sir!" cried the lad. I found. Tell me that a God governs the world! What have I done. Here is a book to amuse yourself with. thank you. to be used like this?" 143 ." "Am I a humbug?" I returned. For no doubt Mr---has written to him with his version of the story. I do. He looked up. cheerily. even while the light as yet is all its own--worthless. By the light of a single tallow candle placed beside him on the bench. for what you have is not enough--ah! far from it. the eyes drooped--"It's all a humbug. and find out what he is thinking about it. till it break out upon the world. There is no merit in doing your duty. that he was still at work. not quite taken by surprise. Perhaps he will be more inclined to believe you when he finds that I believe you. but coldly notwithstanding. When I reached the carpenter's house. thanking God that He has made you suffer for righteousness' sake." I said. which consciousness may well make the pitcher cheery inside. and I don't mean to be humbugged any more. "No. "working so late?" "Yes. "What!" I said.

' they begin to look about for a Saviour." "It would be wrong in me to pretend ignorance. every one as if he were the only prodigal son He had ever had. "A man like me!" he resumed. though it might work well enough in some hands. as I thought afterwards.--"A man like me. "And the other a . Jesus Christ." I said. he drove his plough fiercely through the groove. "If any one has treated you so. There's a father indeed! Have you been such a father to your son?" "The prodigal didn't come with a pack of lies. I could only "stand and wait. entirely justifying what Wordsworth says about the language of the so-called uneducated." Instead of finishing the sentence. becoming eloquent in his indignation. splitting off some inches of the wall of it at the end. He went on." I said. But I was thankful he did not heed me. "of what you mean. I thought with myself how I could retort for his young son: "What has he done to be used like this?" But that was not my way. But God won't let him keep them. Some men are called to be prophets. ready to help. Here's my bill. the world. So you see God is tender--just like the prodigal son's father-- only with this difference. for the speech would only have irritated him. "it must be the devil." I said. And then the devil gets a hold of them. The impudence of the young rascal!" He paused for a moment. "Me to be treated like this! One child a . And then they find God ready to pardon." And so saying. When people want to walk their own way without God. and the flesh. he handed me a letter. I know all about it. sir." "Mind what I said to you once before: He hasn't done yet. But he tried again. I think--not too careful of it. He told his father the truth.. and never gets tired of going out to meet them and welcome them back.. you know--one to help them and take their part against the devil. bad as it was." Here came a terrible break in his speech." "But if there was a God. the righteous lover of men--their elder brother--what we call BIG BROTHER. and. however. Why should you not believe what he tells you?" "I'm not one to reckon without my host. and all the rest of the wicked powers. I took it and read:-- 144 .. not God." "Do you? He has been to you. who was as proud of his honour as any aristocrat in the country --prouder than any of them would grant me the right to be!" "Too proud of it. has he? But you don't know all about it." "How do you know that your son didn't tell you the truth? All the young men that go from home don't do as the prodigal did. he could have prevented it all. not breaking the bruised reed--leading them to his own self manifest--with whom no man can fear any longer. that God has millions of prodigals. God lets them try it. As soon as they are 'wearied in the greatness of their way. And there is another enemy in His way as bad as the devil--I mean our SELVES..

. His mouth was closed so tight. but I call upon you to bring back to your memory all that you have known of him from his childhood. "SIR. But I do say the grounds you go upon are anything but sufficient. "this is what you found your judgment of your own son upon! You reject him unheard. which he was utterly destroying. and that in a shameful manner. "Because a man has one of the largest shops in London. and. yet to make him consider his ways and be wise. for he had been acting contrary to all his own theories of human equality. he looked as if he had his jaw locked. and that the loss of his situation may be punishment sufficient. I don't wonder that you find it difficult to believe in Him. who has one of the largest shops in London. We enclose his quarter's salary. "if God had behaved to us as you have behaved to your boy--be he innocent. his conduct not being such as to justify the confidence hitherto reposed in him. whatever they be." 145 . It would have been contrary to the interests of the establishment to continue him longer behind the counter.--It has become our painful duty to inform you that your son has this day been discharged from the employment of Messrs---and Co. "We remain." "You don't mean to tell me that a man of Mr---'s standing. I confess no man can wonder. the pale face of the carpenter was red as fire. and whose brother is Mayor of Addicehead. and his eyes gleamed over the ruined board with a light which seemed to me to have more of obstinacy in it than contrition. and then ask yourself whether there is not. Thomas!" I said. although we are not prepared to urge anything against him beyond the fact that he has shown himself absolutely indifferent to the interests of his employers. "---and Co. Still. as much probability of his having remained honest as of the master of a great London shop being infallible in his conclusions--at which conclusions. "Ah. and his brother is Mayor of Addicehead. he would not give in. you take his testimony and refuse your son's! I did not know the boy till this evening. though I don't believe it. whether convinced or not. after seeing how readily his father listens to his defamation. He only drove away at his work. if not for justice. be he guilty--there's not a man or woman of all our lost race would have returned to Him from the time of Adam till now. which the young man rejected with insult.. at least." "And." I spoke with warmth. We trust that the chief blame will be found to lie with certain connexions of a kind easy to be formed in large cities. and take the word of a stranger! I don't wonder you cannot believe in your Father when you behave so to your son. I don't say your conclusion is false. Before I had done." I exclaimed. would slander a poor lad like that!" "Oh you mammon-worshipper!" I cried. taking up the speech once more. &c.

I lingered on the bridge as I went home. He concluded that he had taken money to spend in the worst company. certain I could not escape recognition. For there was a great deal of self-satisfaction mixed up with the man's honesty. I saw a corner of the blind drawn aside and a face peeping out-- whose. I found myself half-way up the avenue of the Hall. except one over Catherine Weir's shop. than that he. So eager was I after certainty. It was pride that lay at the root of his hardness. His daughter had disgraced him. His imagination had filled up all the blanks in the wicked insinuations of Mr---. He thought more about himself than about his children. and had so disgraced him beyond forgiveness. was correct. whence. What a point it would be if it was! I should not then be satisfied except I could prevail on Miss Oldcastle to accompany me to Thomas Weir. and shame the faithlessness out of him. that it was not till I stood before the house that I saw clearly the impropriety of attempting anything further that night. determined to overwhelm the unbeliever with proof. I was resolved. and that was on the first floor. and now his pride flung his son out after her upon the first suspicion. Glancing up at it. though. before their troubles should have brought them where the weary and heavy-laden can alone find rest to their souls--finding the Father's peace in the Son--the Father himself reconciling them to Himself. their father. 146 . and the sooner that had a blow the better--it might prove a death-blow in the long run. There were not many restless souls in my parish--not so many as there ought to be. His pride paralysed his love. were Mrs and Miss Oldcastle. and he was ready to flash into wrath with his son upon any imputation which recalled to him the torture he had undergone when his daughter's dishonour came first to the light. would come even more good to him than to his son. and forgetting how late it was. Not a light was to be seen in the village. or rather whom he had really served with honesty. It was a less matter that they should be guilty. Thinking over all this. He visited the daughter's fault upon the son. I thought. and determining to refer to this ill- considered visit when I called the next day. I wanted to find out whether young Weir's fancy that the ladies he had failed in serving. Yet gladly would I see the troubled in peace--not a moment. Her he had never forgiven. One light only was burning in the whole front. I would not put it off till Monday. This was uncomfortable--for what could be taking me there at such a time? But I walked steadily away. His own shame outweighed in his estimation the sadness of their guilt. and put him to shame before his own soul. I could not tell. as I turned to go down the hill again. I knew not why. should be disgraced. And with those words I left the shop.

after all the tempests. but her gaze fixed on the wide-spread landscape before her. watching us. yet as full of peace as this night of stars. the stars above shining as clear below in the mirror of the all but motionless water. uproar. A little way farther on. in which the prevailing colour was a dingy gold. and thence down the steps to the lawn below. Miss Oldcastle sat." I said to myself." 147 . and evidently chose to regard my approach as an intrusion. How many nights like this glide away in loveliness. but I had plenty of hope. the battle-field itself will be--if not quiet. I told him he must stay in the house to-morrow." Without waiting for answer. indeed. and strife that there is on the earth. of which. for it would be better to have the reconciliation with his father over before he appeared in public. who sat with perfect rigidity. She drew herself up in her chair. She rose courteously though without cordiality. you will allow me to say. Fearful of having an interview with the old lady alone. There sat Mrs Oldcastle reading. I stepped from a window which was open. was still kept very nice. will be the presence of God. as it were. with her face to the house. and if we have Him with us. I had little immediate comfort to give my young guest. whence issue all forces. I went once more to the Hall. and begged her to come and listen to something in which I wanted her help." I answered. "And. So the next day neither Weir was at church. It looked down upon the lawn. It was a pure type of the "rest that remaineth"--rest. with a book on her knee. and volcanic outbursts. The servant had just informed Mrs Oldcastle of my visit when I came near. and they know neither how still their own repose. nor how beautiful the sleep of nature! Ah. suspended in stillness. "I did not expect a visit from you to-day. the rest there. hence called the yellow drawing-room when the house had more than one." "I am doing Sunday work. out upon the terrace. although little expense was now laid out on any of the ornamental adjuncts of the Hall. what must the stillness of the kingdom be? When the heavenly day's work is done. "after all the noise. allow me to ask Miss Oldcastle to join us. and accompanied me to her mother. when deep sleep hath fallen upon men. and was shown into the drawing-room--a great faded room. there is yet more of peace than of tumult in the world. As soon as the afternoon service was over. I caught glimpses of Judy flitting hither and thither among the trees. all influences of making and moulding. and went home. with what a gentle wing will the night come down! But I bethink me." I said. I went to Miss Oldcastle. How still the night was! My soul hung. which was not likely to lead to what I wanted. which. "Will you kindly tell me whether you were in London on Thursday last? But stay. never a moment in one place. she seemed to be as inobservant as of her book. the one immovable centre wherein lie all the stores of might. however. Mr Walton. earthquakes. for the whole sphere of heaven seemed to be about me. "if you were in London on Thursday. "Again let me ask." So I spoke to myself. as here.

we were. while the daughter looked surprised. and as a minister of the gospel of truth and love." "I believe we were. "Come with me at once. the answer came from her daughter." Here I turned to Miss Oldcastle and went on-- "It is a chance which seldom occurs in one's life. but much is in your power at this moment." "I assure you. Though I addressed the old lady. I am so confident he tells the truth." "I daresay you do." "Have patience with me for a moment. "Did you buy anything?" "No. "That is no concern of ours. "Are we charged with shoplifting. Please tell me whether you were in that shop or not. Let them fight it out between them. I am sure any trouble that comes of it is no more than they all deserve. "To ask Miss Oldcastle to accompany you to the dwelling of the ringleader of all the canaille of the neighbourhood!" "It is for the sake of justice. Thomas Weir--" "Ah!" said Mrs Oldcastle. certainly. "Yes. in---Street?" But now before Miss Oldcastle could reply. one is not accustomed to such cross-questioning--except from a lawyer." "But neither your opinion nor mine has anything to do with the matter." I interposed." 148 ." said the daughter. I am astonished at your making such a request!" exclaimed Mrs Oldcastle. "I am not going to be mysterious for more than two or three questions. "Yes. A low family--men and women of them. "I beg your pardon for my impetuosity. while her white face flushed with anger. in a tone considerably at strife with refinement. Mr Walton? Really. We--" Miss Oldcastle began." I exclaimed eagerly. I think very differently. His father." said the mother. "Not a word more. "His father will not believe his story." "Were you in---& Co.'s. with suitable emphasis on every salient syllable. But I took no notice. The lad thinks you were the ladies in serving whom he got into trouble. but said nothing." I returned." "What DO you mean. that I want Miss Oldcastle to be so kind as to accompany me to Weir's house--" "Really. The son of one of my parishioners has come home in trouble. her mother interposed. with a sort of cold indignation. Mr Walton?" said the mother. I beg you to assist me with your presence to that end. Mr Walton. Miss Oldcastle-- a chance of setting wrong right by a word.

'He that loveth not his brother is a murderer. Of course I walked away-- round the end of the house and down the avenue. but for that last word. She followed her. I assure my reader. But I owe God my whole being. Mrs Oldcastle rose to her feet no longer red--now whiter than her usual whiteness with passion. but I knew that her word given to me would be enough without her presence. I felt not only that there would be a propriety in her taking a personal interest in the matter. I felt humiliated. and she turned away without reply. and the farther I went the more mortified I grew. forgetting in my miserable selfishness that not to believe in his son was an unspeakably worse punishment in itself than any conviction or consequent shame brought about by the most overwhelming of stage- effects." At that word MURDERESS. I would have spoken more strongly. I had at best but a mangled and unsatisfactory testimony to carry back to Thomas Weir. It was not merely the shame of losing my temper. but that it would do her good. though that was a shame--and with a woman too.' or murderess. "I owe nothing to my tailor. "You dare to persist! You take advantage of your profession to persist in dragging my daughter into a vile dispute between mechanics of the lowest class--against the positive command of her only parent! Have you no respect for her position in society?--for her sex? MISTER WALTON. And here was I left to go home. And if I tried to better the matter by explaining how I had offended them. It only amounted to this." I said. Only I am sorry to say it overcame my temper. her face became livid. and--must I confess it?-- should PUNISH him for not believing in his son when I did. I have no time to set forth its offence now. which should be triumphant after a melodramatic fashion. And I believe I should have borne it all quietly. that Mrs and Miss Oldcastle were in the shop on the very day on which Weir was dismissed. I do not care to make him feel it. It proved that so much of what he had told me was correct--nothing more. and partly from losing my temper. 149 . "Madam. By this time her daughter was half way to the house. If my reader cannot feel it. you act in a manner unworthy of your cloth. If there is one epithet I hate more than another. and my neighbour all I can do for him. in part at least from the foolish desire to produce a conviction OF Weir rather than IN Weir. merely because she used a common epithet!--but I saw that it must appear very strange to the carpenter that I was not able to give a more explicit account of some sort. I stood convicted before the tribunal of my own conscience of having lost all the certain good of my attempt. would it not deepen the very hatred I had hoped to overcome? In fact. it is that execrable word CLOTH--used for the office of a clergyman." I had stood looking in her eyes with as much self-possession as I could muster. as the case may be. with the full knowledge that. partly from trying to gain too much. But at my last words. At the same time. and tend to create a favour towards each other in some of my flock between whom at present there seemed to be nothing in common. what I had learned not being in the least decisive in the matter.

150 . what do you want me to do? I would not willing refuse. with burning cheek and downcast eyes. But how did you manage to--?" Here I stopped. the glow of haste upon her cheek. Humiliation no man can desire: it is shame and torture. with his face away from pride." "You mistake me. whither he was travelling. Of course you ought to do what is right against the highest authority on earth. away from the great house. At a somewhat sharp turn. of course. "Mr Walton.--She was quite right. not knowing how to finish the question. where the avenue changed into a winding road. divine. Once more I was startled by her sudden presence. but she did not smile. as you say. That is not the difficulty at all." "A thousand thanks. But she resumed. only that it is mine!" And she sighed. however. And yet a man may gladly welcome humiliation when it comes. "You are surprised that I came. the other of shame and defeat. What I am surprised at is your courage. right condition of humanity--peaceful. Humility is the true. notwithstanding mamma's objection to my going?" "I confess I am." I answered. there came a gentle and not therefore less effective dissolution of the bonds both of pride and humiliation. if it is. But it would be a considerable advantage. and before Weir and I met. I think. But I am surely old enough to be right in following my conscience at least. I was nearly as anxious to heal his wounded spirit. when suddenly my deliverance came. if he finds that with fierce shock and rude revulsion it has turned him right round." "Not because of its degree. really my duty to go with you. and I did not know what to answer. It will have more effect if I am able to tell him that I have only learned as yet that you were in the shop on that day. and towards humility. Now I think humiliation is a very different condition of mind from humility. however far away upon the horizon's verge she may sit waiting for him. "Do you think obedience to parents is to last for ever? The honour is. now. and refer him to you for the rest. the one of conflict. which seemed to be staring after me down the avenue with all its window-eyes. I was walking slowly. I should not have been surprised at Judy's doing so. "I think I put it too strongly. as I was to work justice for his son." "I will go. Miss Oldcastle stood waiting for me. which I take to be just the parental. if you WOULD go with me and let me ask you a few questions in the presence of Thomas Weir." "I cannot be positive about that. and the firmness of resolution upon her lips." She was silent for a moment. To me.

But the truth is more than propriety of behaviour. even to a parent. And for a mother not to be a mother is too dreadful.--still I shall feel more honest when I have said it: the only thing I feel should be altered in your conduct--forgive me--is that you should DARE your mother. revealing to me that perhaps I had hitherto quite misunderstood the source of her apparent haughtiness. Mr Walton. than any adherence to the mere code of respect. that you are and do when she is out of sight. knowing the consequences perfectly. I can bear." "I understand you perfectly. but it will let you know a little of my position in my own home. impertinence. I avoid irreverence. how impossible it is to do as you say. And it is not always a good will. I lay myself open to the rejoinder that talk is SO easy. I should at least know better than to utter it to you. But the moment her eyes are off me. for a whole week to the very hour. I can endure." "You may be right. that you ought to be able to be and do the same before your mother's eyes. If you once did as I want you to do. and you do not know what that might COME to mean with my mother. "Ah! you think I have no right to speak so about my own mother! Well! well! But indeed I would not have done so a month ago. and do what is RIGHT." "Difficult. as I tell you. rudeness--whichever is the right word for what I mean." And Miss Oldcastle drew herself up with more expression of pride than I had yet seen in her. And yet what I say remains just as true. or the germ of it at least. Impossible. Not that I minded that much." "If I am silent. I can do anything. But if I cannot dare. for instance?" 151 .) "But you do not know what a spell she casts upon me. and indeed has in it a deeper reverence. There are mothers and mothers. If it were." She made no reply. you would find that in reality you both revered and loved your mother more than you do now. though you will scarcely be able to believe it now. I could not reply for indignation. dare hardly move against her will. "I know I am cowardly." "How could I meet VIOLENCE. I allow. that my meaning is a vulgar one. What I mean is. Miss Oldcastle. it is that my sympathy is too strong for me. My silence must have been the cause of what she said next. I mean that you should look in your mother's eyes. That is why I walked away before her. perhaps." "I KNOW that--know it WELL." "That may be. and sent me only bread and water. Is it not strange?--With my mother looking at me. You will never be free till you do so. I dare not say a word. I saw what was coming. I resumed. "It will seem cruel.--certainly in saying it. I cannot honour my mother as I would. Besides. I DO honour her." (She emphasized the words as I do. for it is an unfortunate phrase." "You are too hard upon me. and cannot help feeling that by doing as I do. But I am certain you speak without any real idea of the difficulty. not. Do not think. Once she kept me shut up in my room. and just as regardless of them. for.

" "Perhaps. not a haughty movement to be seen in her form. and ushered us into the large room I have already described. She accepted the chair offered her." "Does your uncle give you no help?" "He! Poor man! He is as frightened at her as I am. I do believe." "I do trust you. But when madness has to be encountered as if it were sense. Not a haughty tone was to be heard in her voice. And we knocked at the house- door. 152 . however. He did not know what he was coming to when he came to Oldcastle Hall." I returned--stupidly enough For what is the use of making general remarks when you have a terrible concrete before you? "To want one's own way just and only because it is one's own way is the height of madness. There sat the old man. to BE anything. burst out crying. "I've been telling Tom. free-thinking republicans" made upon her." "All self-will is madness. Dear uncle! I owe him a great deal. "Trust me. perhaps not incorrectly. it makes it no easier to know that it is madness. "Impossible!" She returned no reply. We walked in silence for some minutes. I believe mamma looks upon him as half an idiot. by the fireside. He can do anything or everything but help one to live. I have yet to learn where she would stop of herself. He received us with more than politeness--with courtesy. Before I had time to speak." I said. as I had thought her. we found the open road an effectual antidote to tears. only that she turned towards me. to walk up-stairs. When we came within sight of the old house where Weir lived. I do not even now know. by the side of the fire. angrily. he is of no more use than a child. and sat down. perfectly at home. and as soon as we had passed the guardian monstrosities." she answered. and I could not help glancing at Miss Oldcastle to see what impression this family of "low. He dares not even go away. What was I to do? I did not know in the least. with a candle in his hand. He looked very much astonished to see his lady-visitor. "My mother's self-will amounts to madness. as how he's a deal too hard with his children. Only I prefer the truth to come out fresh in the ears of the man most concerned. But I was as much surprised at her behaviour as she was at theirs. Miss Oldcastle became again a little curious as to what I required of her. It was easy to discover that the impression was of favourable surprise. But by this time we were at the gate. sir. politely enough. But for any help of that sort. At length she said. old Mr Weir broke the silence." "Father!" interrupted Thomas. What I said. Oh me! I AM so tired!" And the PROUD lady. as I've told him many a time afore. as I had first seen him. "There is nothing mysterious about it. waiting for what explanation I might think proper to give. Thomas Weir himself opened the door. He asked us.

making him look very like his daughter Catherine. rising with difficulty. "I will see Miss Oldcastle home. "listen to me. and answered nothing. he won't even hear young Tom's side of the story. and I could see Miss Oldcastle wince and grow red too with the gripe he gave her hand. which you'll excuse an old man. and asked if his sister was not in the house and might not go to fetch him. To take such a deal of trouble for us! But you see. the sky the earth and the air lovely with rosy light. turning again towards me. sir. That is all I have asked her. God bless you. that they had seen none good enough. I have heard your son's side of the story. "Thomas. did not seem to have the ways or manners of a London shop-lad. whether he be clergyman or carpenter." I said. "we're obliged both to you and the lady more than we can tell." "Indeed. as'll never see ye again till ye've got the wings as ye ought to have. father. But she smiled again none the less sweetly. and the world full of that peculiar calm which belongs to the evening of the day of rest. at last." I then put my questions to Miss Oldcastle. "Not very dangerous people." she returned. and all she has told me is that she was. to prevent useless talk beforehand. "Have patience a bit.--"Now. Miss. 153 . and bade them good-night. I know no more than you what she is going to reply to my questions now." again began Thomas. Because of something he said I went to Miss Oldcastle. But she was with her sister Catherine." I said. you're one of them as thinks a man's got his duty to do one way or another. cordially. sir. I am greatly obliged to you for coming. those. while perfectly polite and attentive to their wants. "I will take you home at once. Miss Oldcastle?" I said. "I thank you very much for taking me to see them. he could hardly even lift his eyes. that they had left the shop without buying anything. Miss. sir. and that they had been waited upon by a young man. who. but shook hands with them both. "Certainly." Miss Oldcastle smiled very sweetly. my boy. if you have done with me. and I say that boy won't tell him no lie if he's the same boy he went away." "I tell you. whose answers amounted to this:--That they had wanted to buy a shawl. It was some time before either of us spoke. and asked her whether she was in his late master's shop last Thursday. I then told them the story as young Tom had related it to me." said the old man. but this time I interposed." said Miss Oldcastle." I answered. But a red spot glowed on each of his pale cheeks. I ought to go home now." persisted the old man. "I think. and then go back to my house and bring the boy with me. but I have no doubt her answers will correspond to your son's story. as we left. Mr Walton. Weir could not speak a word. The sun was setting. Surely the world ought to wake better on the morrow. You're of the right sort.

though I allow that her silence was not conclusive." "I told you I was equal to that. It is where we are unequal that we want help. you will find what that is. But there are ladies and gentlemen amongst them too. You may have to give it me some day--who knows?" I left her most unwillingly in the porch. if. for one thing. cross-grained. just as Sarah (the white wolf) had her hand on the door. unbelieving people amongst them. And the only way to teach them all to be such. the kingdom of heaven would not be far off. is to be such to them." "Tell me. for she was silent thereafter. over her last words." "Live in the country." I said. "I wish I could help you. rejoicing in my heart. But I hope I have so much of his spirit that I can do two things like him. I believe there are none." "He is." "There are ill-conditioned. and know a good man when I see him." "Are you a descendant of Izaak Walton?" "No. and do it--" I had forgot the beginning of my sentence. after all this. I have to confess that I loved Miss Oldcastle. for they can pay their debts. "You won't believe all you may happen to hear against the working people now?" "I never did. My reader will not be surprised. I know your way now. God knows it. You won't tell me anything I can find out for myself." "I am very glad you asked me to go to-night. before I get very much further with my story. Because. The man who does not show himself a gentleman to the working people--why should I call them the poor? some of them are better off than many of the rich. however." "If people only knew their own brothers and sisters." "I will look. and if you consult my namesake old Izaak." "Is it not the best way?" "Yes." "Certainly that has been my own experience. though I was not brought up in it." I do not think Miss Oldcastle quite liked this. selfish. And we had now come close to the house. "In what?" "To bear what I fear is waiting you. you find out so much more than you look for. 154 . "You were saying that the man who does not show himself a gentleman to the poor--" "Is no gentleman at all--only a gentle without the man." "That old man is a gentleman. low-minded.

let by-gones be by-gones. "With all my heart. 155 . stiffly. not the life of a man. His father made one step towards him and then hesitated. into the other against his daughter. When a man thinks it such a fine thing to have done right. I beg yours. father." But I stepped between. overcome at last." "Certainly. "But I want just a word with you in the shop before I go. I believe. "Thomas Weir. turning to me. except that it ought to make you see your duty more easily--having done him wrong. driven from its entrenchment against his son. only retreated. I say. "And now. for therein you make no claim--how. like a man?" He did not move a step." he answered. for the world's judgment of wrong does not exactly correspond with the reality. and followed him down stairs. "will you let by-gones be by- gones between my boy and me?" There was just a touch of bitterness in his tone. I call it Thomas Weir's fall. can you claim to act like a gentleman. Before a moment had passed. But young Tom stepped hurriedly forward. or rather leave you to think you have done your duty when you have not done the half of it. sir. I wasn't. The man had never in his life. was fall enough in one history." he added. his grandfather rose and tottered to meet him. Hence his fall had been from another pinnacle--that of pride. done anything mean or dishonest." said the hard man. indeed. for surely to behave in an unfatherly manner to both daughter and son--the one sinful. and catching his father's hand in both of his. justice overcame so far that he held out his hand and said:-- "Come." I said. Of all conditions of the human mind. cried out: "My father shan't beg my pardon. why don't you beg his pardon. a great wrong." "Tom. I say. for it shows he considers right something EXTRA. I beg your pardon. And now if he was humbled in the one instance. his pride. if. How can you claim to be a gentleman--I say nothing of being a Christian. and therefore he had had less frequent opportunities than most people of being ashamed of himself." I replied. "I have too great a regard for you--and you know I dare not flatter you--to let you off this way. When young Tom and I entered the room. and I bade the old and the young man good night. Tom. but I WASN'T to blame in this. and therefore needing the more tenderness--the other innocent. that of being ashamed of himself must have been the strangest to Thomas Weir. and hurt pride. But I had soon to see that. for a time. worse a great deal than many sins that go by harder names. You have done your son a wrong. he might almost as well have done wrong. and therefore claiming justification--and to do so from pride. there would be room to hope he might become humble in the other. with all its forces. not absolutely essential to human existence. having done a man wrong--his being your own son has nothing to do with the matter one way or other. for everything I ever did to displease you.

a being that was not all light would be no God at all. indeed. when we got into the shop. whereas. my friend. but let Him once come in. and the wrongs people have done you. 156 ." I said. but. I went home as peaceful in my heart as the night whose curtains God had drawn about the earth that it might sleep till the morrow. and you GIVE fair play neither to your own son nor yet to God himself. you might come out into the light of God's truth. No arguing will convince you of a God. for. and all argument will be tenfold useless to convince you that there is no God. "Thomas.--Good night. indeed. you would find your perplexities melt away like the snow in spring. If you would but let Him teach you. You close your doors and brood over your own miseries. Give God justice. Try Him as I have said. and see that His heart is as clear as sunlight towards you. But the grasp of his strong rough hand was more earnest and loving even than usual. I felt that it was better I could not see it. you have a strong sense of fair play in your heart. if you would but open those doors. till you could hardly believe you had ever felt them. for it was almost dark. "will you after this say that God has dealt hardly with you? There's a son for any man God ever made to give thanks for on his knees! Thomas. You won't believe this. laying my hand on his shoulder. and therefore naturally you can't quite believe that there is a God at all. I could not see his face." He did not return my farewell with a single word.

Dr Duncan." returned the doctor--and a kind word from him went a long way into my heart--"I know what you mean. and I fight him from the outside. the painful record is not essential to my story." I said. But you see we have no theriaca now. For whether a story be real in fact. I wish I always did. Raze out the written troubles of the brain. with which I will make a small return for your quotation from Shakespeare. 'Crist. "Well. Of course I saw him often--and I beg my reader to remember that this is no diary. and THEREFORE disregard them. we have. In the middle of the following week I was returning from a visit I had paid to Tomkins and his wife. for the introduction of which my reader cannot yet see the artistic reason. you have mentioned theriaca. there comes into my mind a line of Chaucer." "Ah. "busy as usual fighting the devil. Besides. CHAPTER XIV . that no man can say it belongs to your profession to say such things. Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow. my dear Mr Walton. anyhow.' you know. but only a gathering together of some of the more remarkable facts of my history. after which it is fashioned: in the latter case one of invention." "Ah. The doctor in 'Macbeth. as the case may be--"fui. in the only street of the village. without thinking of this line. the unfailing cure for every thing. And with some sweet oblivious antidote Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff Which weighs upon the heart. my good and honoured friend Dr Duncan. 'Come unto me. if you were confined to outside remedies. old Weir's story. and I. And that is in Chaucer?" 157 .'" "What a memory you have! But you don't think I can do that any more than you?" "You know the best medicine to give. could 'not minister to a mind diseased. You fight the devil from the inside. Although I do happen to know how Miss Oldcastle fared that night after I left her. For the Lord says." "Strangely now. in the former case one of choice. MY PUPIL. for the word triacle is merely a corruption of theriaca. there must always be an idea." "Well. But what an opportunity your profession gives you of attacking the enemy from the inside as well! And you have this advantage over us. perhaps. My chance is a poor one.'" "There! I told you! That will meet all diseases." "It would be. Mr Walton. admitting of being ideally grouped--but this time I recall distinctly because the interview bore upon many things. or artistic model in the brain. which that is to every harm triacle.'" "That is delightful: I thank you. quoted our Lord's words. and I will give you rest. when I met. or only real in meaning. Chaucer brings the two together. I have hitherto recorded only those things "quorum pars magna"--or minima." There is one exception. I have too great a respect for your profession to dare to interfere with it.

I had been to see poor Catherine Weir." "Perhaps she will break down all at once. You see you don't know what she is THINKING. I do wish. or what is it? for she is so uncommunicative that I hardly know anything at all about her yet." "But do not think I complain that she has not made me her confessor." "Ah." "Certainly one has no right to say what God is going to do with any one till he knows it beyond a doubt. dear! What is it. and may often work better when mingled with the hope of life. will not cleanse her stuffed bosom. I do not think so. independent of any association with coming death. I mean we must take care of presumption when we measure God's plans by our theories. to human view at least. and I fear her lungs are going. and open her mind to you. and am not surprised." 158 . but you have taught some of us to think of the life that belongs to the spirit as THE life. Illness has its own peculiar mission. She has the faculty of silence. But I have no expectation of her recovery. poor woman. and till you know that. as Shakespeare says. And I mention that because I want to tell you what made me think of the passage. In the Man-of-Law's Tale. that weighs upon her heart? Is it shame. But could you not suggest something. I have known a long life injured. The perilous stuff weighs on her heart." "Shall I tell you how I was able to quote so correctly from Shakespeare? I have just come from referring to the passage. one would have a chance of knowing something of the state of her mind. to guide me in trying to do my duty by her?" "I cannot. by the medical verdict in youth of ever imminent death." "I cannot tell. I only mean that if she would talk at all. But I wish. Doctor Duncan. Is she in immediate danger. as we say. without SOME diagnosis? It is just one of those few cases in which one would like to have the authority of the Catholic priests to urge confession with. I had got a little hold of her before. doctor. I presume you will agree with me that all is an aim in the dark. do you think?" "No." "I am concerned to hear that. I considered her very delicate. that I might be of some use to her now. Very likely she will just live through the winter and die in the spring. How can I prescribe. and I do believe confession would do everything for that. Those patients so often go as the flowers come! All her coughing. I think she is not long for this world. and so might give her some help. She has a bad cough. I think a medical man ought at least to be quite sure before he dares to say such a thing. I have not told her she is dying. I do not think anything will save her life. as well as on her lungs. "Yes.

She will perhaps come to me of herself before long. but that might be fancy." "I never said to human being that he had been unkind to me." "But it is not right that father and daughter should live as you do. My father never tells me about any of his doings." She returned no answer. A hothouse development must necessarily be a sickly one. though. But I have no wish for AUTHORITY in the matter." "I am going there now: will you come with me?" "Thank you." "How?" Her eye had no longer the stony glitter. "What a fine fellow your brother is!" "Yes. I thought. Suppose he may not have been so kind to you as he ought." We parted. "Yes. occasioned by what the doctor had said about her." "Has your father found another place for him yet?" "I don't know. But I am quite well. but her demeanour was perfectly calm. "You are never seen together. He is a prudent man. She received me much as usual. Perhaps there was a doubtful shadow. We must not hurry things. than ever. But I will call and inquire after her. Her eyes were full of a stony brilliance. not of more cordiality. sometimes?" "No. He called of himself. That only makes matters worse. "I am sorry to hear you are complaining. but of less repulsion in it. sir." "And yet you let every person in the village know it. Wait. if made to God. "You should attend to his advice. which was hardly to be called receiving at all." "But don't you go and talk to him. you know. he grows very much. I have no confidence in FORCING in the moral or spiritual garden. Miss Weir." I said. Neither of you crosses the other's threshold. you should not cherish resentment against him for it. So I tried another subject." I understood that she felt injured by his interference." 159 . Let us see whether the Spirit of God working in her may not be quite as powerful for a final illumination of her being as the fiat confessio of a priest. and I went at once to Catherine Weir's shop. and the flame of the fire that was consuming her glowed upon her cheeks more brightly. But I will grant that communication of one's sorrows or even sins to a wise brother of mankind may help to a deeper confession to the Father in heaven." "It is not my fault. It flashed now. He does not care to see me. rendering the plant unfit for the normal life of the open air. I never go where I am not wanted. and not in the least given to alarming people without cause. I did not send for him. "I suppose Dr Duncan told you so. Her hand trembled. and wanted to persuade me I was ill. You scarcely speak when you meet.

Thomas. She opened her lips to speak. I am not just prepared to admit it for my own sake. her face turned white--with anger. and the red spots were lost in one crimson glow. I know. Can you spare him from his work for an hour or so before breakfast?" "To-morrow. Then the returning blood surged violently from her heart. you know. "I don't know that quite." 160 . sir. to give time for the unpleasant feelings associated with my interference to vanish. There I was received very differently. I was going to her father's shop. now approached young Tom. "Have you got anything for your boy yet." "Perhaps you never tried. and to-morrow. without any sign that it was through this father on earth that you were born into the world which the Father in heaven redeemed by the gift of His own Son?" She was silent. and. And that reminds me why I called to-day. after a pause. "I believe. and to-morrow. where I had not observed him. I did. And you will never be happy till you have made it up with him." "Indeed. if I couldn't handle my father's tools. I am glad to find you can turn your hand to anything. "and there's Shakespeare for you. that you love your father. turned and walked haughtily out of the shop and closed the door behind her. but. As I had told her. There's time enough. but apparently changing her mind. Tom!" And from the farther end of the large shop. And now I had something in my mind about young Tom. I know that lad of yours is fond of reading. I could not believe otherwise of you. I went on. Thomas?" "Not yet. and I never could read a chapter in one of his books--his tools. sir. in a canvas jacket. But do you think you can go to a heaven at last where you will be able to keep apart from each other. and no doubt I could have done it if I had made up my mind to it." returned the lad. Have you done him no wrong?" At these words. looking quite like a workman. I don't want to part with him just yet. I had purposely allowed ten days to elapse before I called again. sir. There was a certain softness in the manner of the carpenter which I had not observed before. I waited. taking his turn at what's going. he in his house and you in your house. "It is not ALL your fault. My father is a lawyer. after ten minutes had passed." "I must be a stupid. hoping she would recover herself and return." I answered. There he is. Tom. But I never felt inclined to finish the page. which shone out in dreadful contrast to the deathly paleness of the rest of her face. I thought it better to go away. "Well. with the same heartiness in the shake of his hand which had accompanied my last leave-taking. sir?" "To-morrow. in my heart. I could see-- all but those spots on her cheek-bones.

I will see what I can do for him. This was just what would irritate such a man. But no sooner had I made up my proposal for Tom than I saw I had blocked up my own way towards my more important end. For I always give people what I like myself. I had no doubt about the lad's intellect. who had a great respect for books. too. say from eight to nine. you're a made man!" cried the father. afraid to put its "native semblance on. that the reconciling of father and daughter was a sort of parish business of mine. true. because that must be wherein I can best help them. but not. sir! Tom. When Tom came. I was anxious. "That IS kind of you. I asked him if he had read any of Wordsworth. and can use them. "if you will let him come to me for an hour every morning. but bide my time. with a perplexed look. till that came. thank you. in which pleasure seemed to long for confirmation. the less a gift in the eyes of Thomas. And for this. "So. sir!" exclaimed Tom. anything that has more than a surface meaning will do. his face beaming with delight. I had intended to try to do something from the father's side towards a reconciliation with his daughter. And I left the shop somewhat consoled for the pain I had given Catherine. it is worth while showing him how to use them better. 161 ." said Thomas. which grieved me without making me sorry that I had occasioned it. and to be." "Oh. When a man is fond of any tools." I went on. The first impression would be that I had a PROFESSIONAL end to gain." "I want to give him some direction in his reading." Tom's face was as red with delight as his sister's had been with anger. therefore. "Of course. and now I wanted to see what there was deeper than the intellect in him. till he gets another place. sir. Nor would he see that it was for his good and his daughter's--not at first. and that I had smoothed the way to it by offering a gift--an intellectual one. For I could not bear to seem to offer to bribe him even to allow me to do him good. He said he had not. whatever you wish. and I resolved to say nothing about it. to find out what he was capable of.

it may be said to be a more valuable gift than the other. I therefore chose one of Wordsworth's sonnets. Tom. I felt certain of some measure of success. and manifesting to the heart what the brain could not yet understand. But what I was delighted to be made sure of was that Tom at least knew that he did not know. Possibly this sonnet might be beyond Tom now. I saw the imagination outrunning the intellect. but suitable for my purpose--the one entitled. at least. sir. I had not been uneasy about the experiment after ten minutes had passed. Tom. without further experience. But I must tell you one thing. and I was not in the least certain that he would come to understand it by any exertion of his intellect. not one of his best by any means. I daresay--I thought I was lying on my mother's grave. But don't you think God is sometimes better to us than we deserve?" "He is just everything to us. But he went on: "I am sure. I ought to have been at my prayers. I think it was fully half-an-hour before Tom rose and gently approached my place. sir. there was great hope that he saw. or even--which is far worse--pronounce it nonsense. as I lay that terrible night. for I've tried hard. and. but. and the embodiment of such life experience on the part of the poet. or believed. 'Can I do anything to help you?'" I was struck with astonishment. For here. For there was a hidden sympathy of the deepest kind between the life experience of the lad." 162 . This may possibly puzzle my reader. for some quick people will understand many things very easily. in a wonderful manner. but I wasn't. I remember I was then reading the Anglo-Saxon Gospels. "Well. except seeing and confessing to themselves that they are not able to understand it. or invent one. indeed. I must just ask you to tell me what it means. and then at the end there you were standing over me and saying. It was clear that Tom did not understand the sonnet at first. seeing he was brooding over it so long. but I will explain. show themselves capable of any device for getting out of the difficulty. "Composed during a Storm. being of general application. and after that time was doubled. then. For that is the very next step to knowing. and sat down to my own studies. that there must be something beyond him in it. I'm afraid I'm very stupid. will fancy they see a meaning in it. Now I will try to explain the sonnet to you. "have you made it out?" "I can't say I have. telling him to let me know when he considered that he had mastered the meaning of it. I only hoped that he would not fall upon some wrong interpretation. but when they come to a thing that is beyond their present reach. and we don't and can't deserve anything." This I gave him to read. Indeed. It indicated undeveloped gifts of a far higher nature than those belonging to the mere power of understanding alone." I said. so I didn't deserve you to come. sir: every time I read it over--twenty times.

but the moment I saw a sign of hunger. if it does not in any way further the growth of the higher nature. I was invariably seized with a kind of passion for giving. Nor do I believe that the lad did less work in the shop for it: I learned that he worked regularly till eight o'clock every night. only to cease to educate in order to amuse is to degenerate. but now that I have heard you say what the poem means. Tom said: "It is very strange. would yet remember that man shall not live by bread alone. clear-headed. nearly as well as I could. indeed. had always been to me a desolate dreariness. except in their relation to the whole)--I resolved to try something fresh with him. Now the good of the arrangement was this: I had the lad fresh in the morning. SLEEP. that. His father. regarded as the attempt to fill skulls with knowledge. 163 . or find out what it was meant for. not for the teaching's sake. let me remind my reader. I feel as if I had known it all the time. From the exercise of the mind it was a pleasant and relieving change to turn to bodily exertion. He would not then have been able to think nearly so well. for that. Having exercised him in the analysis of some of the best portions of our home literature. seems to me to be the right order with those who. was delighted with it. Every literary man ought to be MECHANICAL (to use a Shakespearean word) as well. because he both thought and worked. putting them together again. perhaps we should not find them so ready to degenerate into places of mere amusement. an indication of readiness to receive. I am certain that he both thought and worked better. for the lad was capable of doing a great deal for himself under the sense of help at hand. I am not objecting to the amusement. I had always had an impulse to teach. Were it possible that our mechanics could attend the institutions called by their name in the morning instead of the evening. sir. though I could not say it. without either actually or in his mind taking it to pieces? (which pieces. Having done so. however. and. Amusement is a good and sacred thing.--I mean helped him to take them to pieces. THOUGHT. so far from making any objection to the arrangement. with no mists from the valley of labour to cloud the heights of understanding. The reader will not be surprised to hear that the hour before breakfast extended into two hours after breakfast as well. earning their bread by the sweat of the brow. LABOUR AGAIN. But LABOUR. are utterly useless. I now proceeded to explain the sonnet. he might see what kind of things they were--for who could understand a new machine. it cannot be called good at all. but it is not on a par with education. Nor did this take up too much of my time." Here at least was no common mind. if he had come to me after the labour of the day. But it would have been quite a different matter.

and that must be both his and my comfort. and would. it was that not a word was said about another situation for Tom. So. had enough of insight to perceive that his son was something out of the common. I will only say. will return to them. After all. by the end of three months. and that without being less thorough than they can be. But I think this would be too much of a digression from the course of my narrative. Every discovery he makes is fraught with pleasure--that is the secret of his progress. be DISCOVERY--bringing its own pleasure with it. the description would have plagued him more. all this was of no great value. was able to read any part of the first book of the AEneid-- to read it tolerably in measure. but true as well--true to human nature. I mean. He was a lad of uncommon ability. in each individual case. therefore. for it made and KEPT him hungry for more. be interesting to those only who had given a good deal of thought to subjects belonging to education. again. after the moon itself--that he stretches out his eager hands--to find in after years that he still wants her. let my theory be not only perfect in itself. as an end. The knowledge a child gains of the external world is the foundation upon which all his future philosophy is built. And I was glad of it. for the beginnings with her are as pleasant as the fruition. after all. my pupil. instead of a description. else he could not have effected what I say he had within his first three months of Latin. I made the sentences themselves teach him that. and to enjoy the poetry of it--and this not without a knowledge of the declensions and conjugations. and tell them how I had found the trial of it succeed in the case of Tom Weir. that. besides. and the essence of my theory: that learning should. for it seemed to me that the lad had abilities equal to any profession whatever. in most modes of teaching. At this point I had intended to give my readers a theory of mine about the teaching and learning of a language. whereas. especially after an interval of cessation. Such is not Nature's mode. it was invaluable. And his father. Now I know that. but as a beginning. the beginnings are such that without the pressure of circumstances. I went on teaching Tom Weir. as in the first case. 164 . but that in science and poetry he has her a thousand-fold more than if she had been handed him down to suck. It is upon the moon itself that the infant speculates. So through the whole of that summer and the following winter. though his own book-learning was but small. I have bored my reader with a shadow of my theory. Nor is this to be confounded with turning study into play. no boy. without knowing any other Latin author. I believe. As to the syntax. Hence. and that any possible advantage he might lose by remaining in Marshmallows was considerably more than counterbalanced by the instruction he got from the vicar.

This I said. will appear afterwards--I had. To the loving soul alone does the Father reveal Himself. Judy. As it happened. thinking of no one more than another of my audience. or recognize in myself a common humanity with her. or revenge. the man himself would not be able to believe for a moment that God did forgive him. or anything that separates us from man. than that I tried to show that even were it possible with God to forgive an unforgiving man. "But Grannie thinks you did. or contempt. I know I was wrong in being unable to feel my relation to her because I disliked her. It is the peace-makers who are His children. CHAPTER XV . for I never seemed to myself to have any hold of. I was passing the Hall-gate on my usual Saturday's walk. in endeavouring to enforce the Lord's Prayer by making them think about the meaning of the words they were so familiar with." with which I naturally connected the words of our Lord that follow: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses. "Forgive us our debts. that is. neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. I would not say I had not. so essentially does hatred. Mr Walton!" "You know I didn't." "How do you know that?" "By her face. as she came out of the lodge. Judy. I will tell it when the time comes. only as Spenser says-. "how could you preach at Grannie as you did last Sunday?" "I did not preach at anybody. I know that perfectly. I could not help fancying that Mrs Oldcastle looked at me with more than her usual fierceness. your heavenly Father will also forgive you. which was not likely. that woman. "It chanced--eternal God that chance did guide. or relation to." --and why I say this." 165 . after the interview last related. as we forgive our debtors." she said. A sin of my own made me understand her condition. "Mr Walton. and therefore could get no comfort or help or joy of any kind from the forgiveness. in preaching upon. In the end of the week after the sermon to which I have alluded. DR DUNCAN'S STORY. for the second time since I had come to the place. however. She was with me in a moment." I need not tell my reader more of what I said about this. come to the petition. You know that if I had. separate us from God too." "Yes. she behaved much as if she had forgotten all about it." she said. But not till years after did I begin to understand how she felt. yes. I can hardly explain now. when Judy saw me from within. but if ye forgive not men their trespasses. On the next Sunday but one--which was surprising to me when I considered the manner of our last parting--Catherine Weir was in church. When I called upon her next. I forgot all about it. for love alone can understand Him. But as I closed my sermon." "Oh. seriously.

as well as what Uncle Stoddart calls black-letter. "That is all." I said. and. Judy. is it?" "You don't think Grannie would say so?" "No. and I mean her to be afraid of it. without once looking back. at least. the wayward girl burst out crying. no. I did not mean that. She would say. Judy." And to my yet greater surprise. if she did." "I will go home and say it to her face directly. let me see. Darling Aunt Winnie! it's all she's got to defend her." "I am sure she would not say so." she said. I know she thought you were preaching at her." I said. "I won't say you told me to do it. breaking away from me. anyhow. really not knowing what to say. and I won't for all your preaching. Mr Walton. out of the reach of my help? 166 . you would be cross with Grannie yourself. ran through the gate. "Perhaps. I thought there was no harm in telling you. she would not say so. and her face said.' That's what her face said. I never forgive. taking her by the arm. Nor yet that you could know by her face what she was thinking. Judy. Mr Walton. I pursued my walk. 'I always forgive. but. But you are saying it behind her back. no. don't you think it is rather hypocritical of you to say all this to me about your grandmother when she is so kind to you. "Oh. my meditations somewhat discomposed by the recurring question:--Would she go home and tell her grandmother what she had said to me? And. but I never forget. and out of sight amongst the trees. It's the only way to keep her in order. Grannie is kind to me. would it not widen the breach upon the opposite side of which I seemed to see Ethelwyn stand. and I am kind to her." "Oh! can't I just? I can read her face--not so well as plain print. and you seem such good friends with her?" She looked up in my face with an expression of surprise. "No." "But. But Grannie is afraid of my tongue." She turned to go. If you knew how she treats her sometimes.' That's a favourite saying of hers. 'I shan't forgive YOU. for all your goodness and your white surplice. "It is all TRUE.

in order to choose one (or more. but thin. and long. and be alone with nature and my Greek Testament. and large dark eyes. He was pale. All this I caught as he passed me. of distinguished appearance. because. had fine features of the type commonly considered Grecian. I saw him stop at the lodge of the Hall. looking after him. and then ride through the gate. ring the bell. and saw a young man. and expressive chiefly of conscious weariness. 167 . but I got over the feeling so far as to be able to turn to my Testament when I had reached and crossed the stile. that is. Hearing the sound of horse- hoofs on the road from Addicehead. I walked quickly on to reach a stile by means of which I should soon leave the little world of Marshmallows quite behind me. I confess I did not quite like this. and I remember them. with a dark moustache. if I could call myself young still. approaching upon a good serviceable hack. He turned into my road and passed me. I glanced up from my pocket-book. military-looking boots. if they would go together) to be brooded over to-day for my people's spiritual diet to-morrow--I say I glanced up from my pocket- book. sat his horse well and carelessly. in which I had been looking over the thoughts that had at various moments passed through my mind that week. white gloves. He wore a white hat with crape upon it.

that lay in the broad slow river. his brown furrowed old face shining with a yet lovelier light than that which shone from the blossoms of the water-lilies. and the will of God was the regnant sunlight upon it. loitering and looking. though. sir. "I've found it. Having reached the river in the course of my wandering. new feelings might come forth. And then came a hand on my shoulder. And then I found that I was gazing over the stump of an old pollard. after what I had been thinking about them. The slanting yellow sunlight shone through the water down to the very roots anchored in the soil. of course. and still my head rose into the truth. and making them gleam with the whiteness which was born of them and the sun. but still my heart should be glad and strong in the one changeless thing. and laying my hand in return on his shoulder.--both to shine in the light of His countenance. and I should know that because He lived I should live also. in it." he said. Tell me then. "Found what. And there on their lovely heads. "Why He was displeased with the disciples for not knowing--" "What He meant about the leaven of the Pharisees. shone the life-giving light of the summer sun. filling all the spaces between their outspread petals of living silver with its sea of radiance. on which I was leaning. after one of the most delightful days I had ever spent. I do think. quiet in heart and soul and mind. and the water swathed their stems with coolness and freshness. I was swayed to and fro by the motions of a spiritual power. "Yes. as they lay on the pillow of the water. and a universal sense. and old feelings retire into the lonely corners of my being. raising myself. I came down the side of it towards Old Rogers's cottage. I might change my place and condition. The earth was round me--I was rooted. turning. yes. feelings and desires and hopes passed through me. I saw the gray head and the white smock of my old friend Rogers. it was no wonder that they seemed both to mean the same thing. but the air of a higher life was about me. because I had committed my cares to Him who careth for us." I interrupted. nor should any change pass upon me that should make me mourn the decadence of humanity. in the truth that maketh free. and I was glad that he loved me enough not to be afraid of the parson and the gentleman. as it were. and because He was true I should remain true also. and." 168 . here broader and slower than in most places. I came home another way. and returned. still my head should rise into the sunlight of God. I doubt not. of watery presence and nurture. down on a great bed of white water-lilies. Old Rogers?" I returned. passed away.

sir. yet I thought it better to add-- 169 . And it's no use. sir." But I was mistaken again. I cannot. 'Could they have helped it?' If they couldn't. Isn't it a satisfaction. But when I saw you. I thought old Rogers's tobacco must be nearly gone. I don't know how. but it was give to me. rejoiced at the old man's insight. 'How could they help it?' I said to myself.'" "I only hope I'm right. He may be like myself. I had not got my sermon yet. and so I went back to my work again." I saw no great use in protesting my innocence. But He didn't seem to think it was right of them to fall into the blunder. I thought I had got my sermon in Foxborough Wood. But as she was weighing my purchase. when yer dead reckonin' runs ye right in betwixt the cheeks of the harbour? I see it all now. Catherine's manner was much the same as usual." "You're right. If their hearts had been full of the dinner He gave the five thousand hungry men and women and children. Mayhap they ought to ha' been able to help it. And so they wouldn't have been set upon the wrong tack when He spoke about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. and they would have known in a moment what He meant. And if I hadn't been too much of the same sort. they should think it had summat to do with their having none of any sort. sir. I went in. For why then? A man can't be always right. she broke out all at once: "It's no use your preaching at me. 'Old Rogers gave me this. anyhow. and I'm thinkin' those fishermen the Lord took to so much were something o' that sort. Mr Walton. For it appeared to me very nat'ral that." "It is not I that say it. after a greeting with the "old woman. leastways. it came to me. sir. I wouldn't have started saying it was but reasonable to be in the doldrums because they were at sea with no biscuit in the locker. sir. seeing they had no bread in the locker. but I was mistaken: you had got it. I'm not so old as you. It was just this: their heads was full of their dinner because they didn't know where it was to come from. And from that I came to ask myself. "Thank you. I couldn't help runnin' out to tell you. you must be right." I cried. a readin' upon the lilies o' the field. and I might safely buy some more. And I flung down my rake. and I ran in to the old woman. I WILL not forgive. sir. and seeing by the light of her candle the form of Catherine Weir behind her counter. It's as plain as possible. old Rogers. I should like to be able to say to myself. But they ought to ha' known where it always come from. they wouldn't have been uncomfortable about not having a loaf. I'll preach about it to-morrow. It is the Lord himself. a foremast-man with no schoolin' but what the winds and the waves puts into him. and so I MAY live longer. this mornin'." "Well. Catherine. the lilies o' the water. and hearing tell of leaven which they weren't to eat. but she wasn't in the way. I will do anything BUT forgive. "I will try. I walked with him to his cottage and left him. He wouldn't have been vexed with them. old Rogers. I want to know. It was all dark to me for days. And all at once." Passing then through the village. and every time I read that passage.

I am just going to sit down to my dinner. "Come now. "And I was not preaching AT you. He received me with his stately cordiality. bade her good night." Now. that was enough for this time. My boy will run with it at once. and we can make up with cheese and a glass of--would you believe it?--my own father's port. "what a labour Thou hast with us all! Shall we ever. Couldn't you send a message for me?" "To be sure. that every little circumstance connected with it becomes interesting. if ever you think I can serve you in any way. and no more. Mr Walton. and a smile that went farther than all his words of greeting. as I walked away. and quite." I saw that good and evil were fighting in her. what is the use of writing all this? I do not know." "Ah! then." And now I found that I wanted very much to see my friend Dr Duncan. It is not for me to interfere. and handed me my parcel. dear me! I'm old myself now. that my work may all go to bring about the gladness of Thy kingdom--the holy household of us brothers and sisters--all Thy children." Of this she took no notice. Nor dared I ask her any questions. If He won't forgive me. was: "I won't trouble you with talk. All I could venture to say. He was fond of port--the old man--though I never saw him with one glass more aboard than the registered tonnage. Ah." "But what am I to do with Mrs Pearson?" I said. The words of our Lord had laid hold of her. good like Thee? Help me. "O Lord. "There's some chef-d'oeuvre of hers waiting for me by this time. I was preaching to you. I had the feeling that it would hurt. He always sat light on the water. as much as to any one there. let it stand. has such a pearly halo about it in the mists of the past. I paid for it. Our Lord wants to talk to you. a chicken a-piece for us. not help. She always treats me particularly well on Saturdays and Sundays. you must not stop with me. not what I say. I believe." I said in my heart. I think there will be enough for us both. There is. I can't forgive. Fill me with Thy light. and left the shop." "I can't help it. Catherine. you have only to send for me. though it may be quite unworthy of record. But please to remember. You will fare better at home. So. and you must join me." "But I should much prefer stopping with you. kind reader. some day." She murmured a mechanical thanks. now that I am an old man myself. 170 . Only that even a tete-a-tete dinner with an old friend. be all. and I resumed: "Just think of what HE says. I must go without it. and felt that no words of mine could be of further avail at the moment.

I thought. I once heard of a good woman who cherished this feeling against a good man because of some distrustful words he had once addressed to herself. We sat down to our dinner. "I have known resentment preponderate over every other feeling and passion--in the mind of a woman too. "Surely she has not this feeling towards more than one. but was gathered to her fathers--or went home to her children. That she has it towards her father. and not without a touch of humour.' She was as if struck with a flash of thought. I know one case in which it is the ruling presence of a woman's life--the very light that is in her is resentment. and I telling him some of the few remarkable things that had happened to me in the course of my life- voyage." "I will. his prescriptions will partake a good deal more than is necessary of haphazard." "Was it in---?" I began. 171 .and her talking together very quietly over a cup of tea. sat silent during the rest of his visit. At length I brought our conversation round to my interview with Catherine Weir. and which would seem stranger to them than they did at the time to the person to whom they happened. But even to you I will mention no names. said: 'Perhaps God doesn't mean to let you die till you've forgiven Mr---. "a woman finding it so hard to forgive her own father?" "Are you sure it is her father?" he returned." I said. Dr Duncan. I wanted very much to tell my friend what had occurred in Catherine's shop. Dr Duncan smiled and went on without remark.--As to this question of obstinate resentment. he found Mr--. lest. I was called to attend a lady at a house where I had never yet been. "I have not had so much experience as a general practitioner. but checked myself. he should let anything slip that might give a clue to the place or people." "I wish I had had your experience. and so we chatted away concerning many things. "Can you understand. And she hadn't long to wait after that. I could see that he told his story with great care. "Tell me something about her. There is no man but has met with some remarkable things that other people would like to know. whichever is the better phrase. he telling me about his seafaring life. I was told. Not that I have her confidence in the least. But I think it is better not. so simple and so well-cooked that it was just what I liked. The clergyman--a very shrewd as well as devout man. but I would not begin till we were safe from interruption." he answered. because I have been so long at sea. and was expressing to her clergyman her desire that God would take her away: she had been waiting a long time. I know. and when the clergyman called the next day." I said. She had lived to a great age. I think her possessed myself. But I am satisfied that until a medical man knows a good deal more about his patient than most medical men give themselves the trouble to find out." "I don't know.

stood two of the most dreadful- looking women I had ever beheld. certainly. towards the door. There was trouble and signs of inward conflict in the eyes of the mistress." I may here interrupt my friend's story to tell my reader that I may be mingling some of my own conclusions with what the good man told me of his. now bounding. but begged a word with her mother. I saw her lips shut yet closer than before. Still as death.' "'Where is her husband?' 172 . And. tartly. "The mother made no reply. not wishing to be so definite as I could have been. one as white as the other. "'Could you not find out what she wishes?' "'Perhaps I could guess. A child's toy was lying in a corner of the room. then. "I was led up into an old-fashioned.' "'Is that your mode of prescribing. and I heard her once murmur to herself --for I was still quick of hearing then--'He won't come!' Perhaps I only saw her lips move to those words--I cannot be sure. The bed was surrounded with heavy dark curtains. while I examined my patient. One was evidently mistress. correctly. in which the shadowy remains of bright colours were just visible.' I answered--'in the present case. and now intermitting--and a restlessness in her eye which I felt contained the secret of her disorder.' I said. The maid gave no sign of any inside to her at all. and the other servant. I prescribed for her as far as I could venture. She went with me into an adjoining room.'--very decidedly. That both could be unkind at least. which would not open for all her looking. For he will see well enough already that I had in a moment attached his description to persons I knew. Is she married?' "'Yes. but stood watching her mistress. one on each side. "'Yes. but less determined and possibly more cruel. doctor?' she said. A great wood-fire burned on the hearth. they stood. as if involuntarily. "'The lady is longing for something. and.' "'I do not think I can do her any good till she has what she wants. richly-furnished room. The latter looked more self-contained than the former.' "'Let her see her. as it turned out. "I found the lady very weak and very feverish--a quick feeble pulse. was plain enough. with moveless faces. "'She is your daughter.' "'Has she any children?' "'One daughter.' "'She does not care to see her. is she not?' "'Yes. In the bed lay one of the loveliest young creatures I had ever seen. but I am certain she said them in her heart. Only the eyes of both of them were alive. though I could not be certain about it till the story had advanced a little beyond this early stage of its progress. She kept glancing.

' "'Certainly not. almost distorted with eagerness. "'Yes. I will. madam. that I felt as if I was talking to an evil creature that for her own ends. indeed. evidently to me. or the undertaker.' I said. else you will be very ill. Send for her husband. only that I knew she wanted to speak to me. Presently a quick step came up the oak- stair.' "'She shall take your prescription. consuming her in the slow fire of her own affections. as if that was what would hurt her. one after the other. who were. then a dull sound of conflict of some sort. "'Excuse me. because of the presence of the two women. my dear. But you must be as still as you can.' 173 .' "'She must see her husband if it be possible.' "'I will. cleaned. but to give advice. Good morning. It is your daughter. was tormenting the dying lady. and the two women darted from the room. for I was more irritable then than I am now. Do you think a human being is like a clock. The face of my patient flushed. towards me. about a week after my first visit. stuffing her pocket-handkerchief actually into her mouth to prevent herself from screaming. I did not send for you to ask questions. though what I could not tell. forgetting my manners and my temper together. 'I know. "'My husband!' said the girl--for indeed she was little more in age. and there was something so repulsive about the woman. "'I understood you were a GENTLEMAN--of experience and breeding. strongholds of injustice and wrong into which no law can enter to help. that can be taken to pieces.' "'And I came to ask questions. Her troubled eyes seemed searching mine for pity and help. and her eyes gleamed as if her soul would come out of them. and dared not. I called the next day. as some one says. Do keep quiet. 'But go to him. when I heard a faint noise.' I said.' she gasped. in order that I might give advice. turning her face. There are.' "I could say no more at that time. doctor.' "'I am not in the question. wondering what could be done to get her out of the clutches of these tormentors.' "'Why?' "'I say it is not possible. "One afternoon. They will murder him. a rapid foot in the house so quiet before. and that is enough. and put together again?' "'My daughter's condition is not a fit subject for jesting. almost without an effort. She was just the same.' "'It is not possible. and I could not tell what to do for her. heard doors open and shut. I was sitting by her bedside. whichever you please. Weak as she was she sat up in bed.

laid her down--dead. lifted up her head. but you have MURDERED her. Mr Walton. I believe. rushed down a road leading from the back of the house towards the home-farm. while the two women followed. but evidently a gentleman. and evidently in fierce wrath from a fruitless struggle with the powerful youth. "That moment I heard a cry. yielding like a child. The mother burst into a shriek--not of horror.' I said. not gazing. and face. But in a moment more the young man. or of the story. and the next. and saw him tearing away at full speed along the London road. walked into the room with a quietness that strangely contrasted with the dreadful paleness of his face and with his disordered hair. and glanced in her face. not mine. he gave a groan. though I don't look like it now. I went on. to carry her at once from the room. or remorse. I never heard more of him. "I had gone to the mother. and led him away. fell into his embrace. madam. "'Look at your work!' she cried to him. But the moment I got him out of the house.' "She took no notice of what I said. till arms. and. or grief. I followed. as I took the man by the arm. but both from a woman's voice.' "'He may have killed her. I heard the gallop of a horse. but he had disappeared. and lifting her from him. whose outstretched arms and face followed his face as he came round the bed to where she was at the other side. breaking away from me. as he stood gazing in stupor on the face of the girl. if it came." 174 . I hastened to him. You may have her now you have killed her. but stood silently glaring. I assure you. and what sounded like an articulate imprecation. 'You said she was yours. He walked gently up to his wife. a young man--as fine a fellow as I ever saw--dressed like a game-keeper. I feared an outburst. but of deadly hatred. 'or her blood will be on your head. and had resolved.' I said. at the pair. and head. Some women can be secret enough. "'Let us have no scene now. as red as he was white. Disease of the heart. take her. but before I could reach the farm. Seeing the look of terror in his. which I was quite able to do then. becoming uneasy at the motionlessness of his wife.

What a horror of darkness seemed to hang over that family! What deeds of wickedness! But the reason was clear: the horror came from within. I need not follow the rest of our conversation. and fierceness of temper were its source--no unhappy DOOM. It threw a light upon several things about which I had been perplexed. as no better place will come. what I could not have told him then. instead of stirring up to deeds of gentleness and "high emprise. I know all the story now. The terrible things that one reads in old histories. are proved as possible as ever where the heart is unloving. and. not by demons." becomes then but an incentive to violence and cruelty. I will tell it at once. out of which will break the very flames of hell. I did not let my friend know that I knew all that he concealed. The consciousness of birth and of breeding. or in modern newspapers. and things which seem as if they could not happen in a civilized country and a polished age. selfishness. The worship of one's own will fumes out around the being an atmosphere of evil. 175 . self the centre. but I may as well tell my reader now. and God nowhere in the man or woman's vision. the feelings unrefined. as far as I can see. and briefly. an altogether abnormal condition of the moral firmament. I could hardly doubt whose was the story I had heard. were done by human beings.

however. denied its proper food and nourishment. to be so treated. Why should he dress and not speak like an angel of light? Why should he not give good advice if that will help to withdraw people by degrees from regarding the source of all good? He knows well enough that good advice goes for little. he can be more cunning with the demands of the time. faring in this. It may be a source of happiness to those who could not believe it before. and raise the dead to ask their advice. turns in its hunger to feed upon garbage. demons will. nor indeed seemed to care to ask herself if what she did was right." Let us once see with our spiritual eyes the Wonderful. Offered the Spirit of God for the asking. for. I submit to the artistic blame of such as do not. with especial recommendation to the care of a clergyman in the neighbourhood. but it is not religion. like many other of God's gifts--Dorothy Oldcastle was the eldest daughter of Jeremy and Sibyl Oldcastle. somehow--and the fact is not so unusual as to justify especial inquiry here--though she paid no attention to what our Lord or His apostles said. But to believe that the spirits of the departed are the mediators between God and us is essential paganism--to call it nothing worse. and her mother sent her to school. Nay. she had yet a certain (to me all but incomprehensible) leaning to the clergy. What religion is there in being convinced of a future state? Is that to worship God? It is no more religion than the belief that the sun will rise to-morrow is religion. THE GIFT OF GOD. As a devout German says--I do not quote him quite correctly --"Where God rules not. Her father. who was an easy-going man. We are clever: he will be cleverer. Dorothy--a wonderful name. and return to my story. and a bad enough name too since Christ has come and we have heard and seen the only-begotten of the Father. It costs him little. and will find some day that Satan had not forgotten how to dress like an angel of light. will forgive this divergence. whom Mrs Oldcastle knew. Thus the instinctive desire for the wonderful. the need we have of a revelation from above us. 176 . and surely we shall not turn from Him to seek elsewhere the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The devil can afford a kind of conviction of that. Those who sympathize with my feeling in regard to this form of the materialism of our day. in the misery of their unbelief they betake themselves to necromancy instead. I think it belongs to the same kind of superstition which many of our own day are turning to. but the one is not the other. entirely under the dominion of his wife. and the sister therefore of Ethelwyn. but that what fills the heart and mind goes for much. the Counsellor. AND FOLLOW IT. Where religion comes that will certainly be likewise. died when she was about fifteen. offered it by the Lord himself. or what she accepted (I cannot say BELIEVED) was true.

that it was impossible for her to accompany her husband. to her fierce disdain. and conducted her to his father's. through means of relations who had great influence with Government. Mr Gladwyn was waiting for her near. became an honourable firmness. irrespective of its object altogether. By some means. and. They were married next day by the clergyman of a neighbouring parish. Of course. She was and would be true to her lover. hoping to join him the following year. But she found. The end was that she left her mother's house. He had. The spirit but not the will of the girl was all but broken. whither he must sail within a month. and that in the same strength of character which the mother had misused for evil and selfish ends. ceasing to be the evil thing it was in her mother. unknown to my informant. She and the clergyman's son fell in love with each other. a thing to be sneered at. The consequent SCENES were dreadful. Dorothy was there three or four years. in such eyes. I said I would be brief. The mother heard of it. And thus the bad breed was broken. 177 . her lover contrived to communicate with her. Thus Nature had begun to right herself--the right in the daughter turning to meet and defy the wrong in the mother. But almost immediately she was taken so ill. and she was compelled to remain behind at the rectory. a daughter's FANCY was. who had constantly refused to aid Mrs Oldcastle by interfering in the matter. that she had not been able to keep all her beloved obstinacy to herself: she had transmitted a portion of it to her daughter. But in her it was combined with noble qualities. and sent for her home. She had other views for her. She felt that she could not sustain the strife long. rendering her able to withstand her mother's stormy importunities. procured a good appointment in India.

My reader will now understand how it came about in the process of writing these my recollections. 178 . and although Mrs Gladwyn's health. and directed him the rest of the way to his wife's room. was evidently failing in consequence. and in weak health. persisted in her resolution after his arrival. that what he told me opened up a good deal to me. that I have given such a long chapter chiefly to that one evening spent with my good friend. without money. It was only by the connivance of Ethelwyn. Before the time arrived. of which she unlocked the upper door for his entrance. of whom the last accounts had been that he was slowly recovering. probably the early stages of the disease of which she died. that he should not gain admittance to the house. an elderly man of indolent habits. so that instead of going out to join him. Whether she fore-intended her following conduct. offering her daughter all that she required in her old home. for he will see. without a friend to whom she could apply. but she had not been more than a few days in the house before she began to tyrannise over her. news arrived that Mr Gladwyn had had a sunstroke. she must wait for him where she was. Dr Duncan. His father. influenced by motives of which I dare not take upon me to conjecture an analysis. by making her daughter's illness a pretext for refusing him admission to her presence. for. keeping all the doors locked except one. now always weak. or could not restrain her evil impulses. then a girl about fifteen. to whom he was deeply attached. she either did not see the cause. as in old times. She told her she should not see him till she was better. and would have leave of absence and come home as soon as he was able to be moved. by the help of Sarah. In the meantime his wife was in want of money. as I have said. And so the poor young creature was left alone with her child. or old habit returned with the return of her daughter. Perhaps then for the first time the temptation entered her mind to take her revenge upon him. His mother had been dead for some time. And nothing could be done in arranging his affairs till the arrival of his son. was found dead in his chair one Sunday morning soon after the news had arrived of the illness of his son. I cannot tell. Then. I presume that one of the few parishioners who visited at the rectory had written to acquaint Mrs Oldcastle with the condition in which her daughter was left. At length the news arrived of Mr Gladwyn's departure for home. that he was admitted by the underground way. and her departure was again delayed by a return of her old complaint. She had then guided him as far as she dared. just as she was about to set sail for India. she wrote. The old man left nothing behind him but his furniture and books. and effected. for that it would make her worse. she gave birth to my little friend Judy.

as serious as man could wish grown woman to look. the sore of unforgivingness. I had very little time for the privacy of the church that night. and had surely something to give me to say to them. I will say what I see: let Him make it good. and is in them the present life principle. And there Catherine Weir sat. This spirit was fighting the evil spirit in Catherine Weir: how was I to urge her to give ear to the good? If will would but side with God. for did He not choose so to work by the foolishness of preaching?--Might not my humble ignorance work His will. being evil. And I saw that of herself she would not. Only by being filled with a higher spirit than our own. and sat down in the darkness. that all the pains of hell could not make her forgive. also looking me in the face. could not. till the very fires of Sinai would not flash into eyes blinded with the incense arising to the golden calf of his worship? A man may come to worship a devil without knowing it. and thought. forgive to all eternity. and must come from God. Here I am. To ask something for herself would be a great advance in such a proud nature as hers. are we or can we be safe from this eternal death of our being. And thinking of Mrs Oldcastle. For I could not think how to think about Mrs Oldcastle yet. 179 . must soon quit the field. And to ask good heartily is the very next step to giving good heartily. Might she not be roused to utter one feeble cry to God for help? That would be one step towards the forgiveness of others. which. not from the worst and vilest sins. and by one action after another. Dark as it was. deserted by their leader. for who could tell how he might not stupify himself by degrees. And the old church gloomed about me all the time. and the woman--the kingdom within her no longer torn by conflicting forces--would sit quiet at the feet of the Master. I groped my way into the pulpit. having caused our spirits. I saw that in ourselves we could be sure of no safety. for that it was a divine glory to forgive. looking me in the face. and then drew me to be a preacher to my fellows. though my wrath could not work His righteousness? And I descended from the pulpit thinking with myself. each a little worse than the former. And Judy sat there. I went in before I went home: I had the key of the vestry-door always in my pocket. There likewise sat Mrs Oldcastle. "Let Him do as He will. the forces of self. And I kept lifting up my heart to the God who had cared to make me. know how to give good gifts to your children. chiefly associated with her. Many thoughts such as these passed through my mind. I spoke about the words of our Lord: "If ye then. how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him!" And I looked to see. Nor did my personal interest in Dr Duncan's story make me forget poor Catherine Weir and the terrible sore in her heart. however." And the next morning. is one with our spirits. looking me in the face too. reposing in that rest which He offered to those who could come to Him.

for very shame. the old sailor carried too heavy metal for the carpenter. The sailor has a thousand chances of using his judgment. The fact is." "Of that. and spoke not merely his own mind. and that Old Rogers has in no common degree. lose his temper. but such was the good humour of Rogers. but the mind of God in it. that is irresistible to any man with a heart in his bosom. THE ORGAN." "My man-of-all-work is going to leave me. "for nothing would please me more than to see him in your service. and precision as well. "Indeed he is. not having been present at the beginning. Mr Walton. you must put your hand to the tiller for me. There is nothing to which a good sailor cannot turn his hand. I wonder if the old man would take his place?" "I do not know whether he is fit for it." I returned. I happened to refer to Old Rogers. I don't think anybody but myself has an idea what there is in that old man. than living by uncertain jobs as he does now. and his wife too. Things are never twice the same at sea. too." "Just so. if you will allow me the expression. He is too ready to be down upon them when he sees things going amiss. it is not like a routine trade. And he will tell you why." "I will do what I can. It would be much better for him. because he was an honest man." "The people in the village don't quite like him. however." "Something as the Jews were afraid of John the Baptist. I found him and Old Rogers at close quarters in an argument? I could not well understand the drift of it. Weir will get good from him. they are afraid of him. "He has a kind of loving banter with him. "He is a great comfort and help to me. whatever he may think himself. keen as Weir was. that he could not. But of one thing you may be sure--if Old Rogers does not honestly believe he is fit for it. I think I may be a better judge than he. I find. One little matter I forgot to mention as having been talked about between Dr Duncan and myself that same evening." I answered. If he won't let me steer him. if he has any to use. "What a fine old fellow that is!" said Dr Duncan. but I soon saw that. I am very glad to hear there is anything like communion begun between them. So I should have no fear of him. the other day. I believe you're quite right." 180 . It evidently annoyed Weir. CHAPTER XVI . though. he will not take it. and far surpassing Rogers in correctness of speech. happening to go into Weir's shop to get him to do a job for me. You see." "I know how he would talk exactly." I answered. Do you know. the old man's smile again and again compelling a response on the thin cheeks of ihe other.

I must confess. and never turned my eyes towards the Hall-pew from the moment I entered the pulpit. or did not care to conform. I threw myself on a couch. and fell fast asleep. the gentleman whom the day before I had encountered on horseback. when I rose in the reading-desk on the day after this dinner with Dr Duncan. and. for when my attendant came in he got me a glass of wine without even asking me if I would have it. and. and home through the shrubbery--a path I seldom used. Miss Oldcastle was there for the first time. And I could see several little new comforts about the cottage. The result of it all was. I recovered in a few moments from my weakness. having prayed earnestly for sleep. and feeling the right. a better sermon than I had ever preached before. who. contentedly--indifferently. from the freedom given by the sense of irresponsibility for the result. altogether disinclined to face any of my congregation. I think. easily. but much harm if one tone fails of its force because I suffer. I could not help seeing that he was always behind the rest of the congregation. except involuntarily in the changes of posture. although it was not my custom to take any there. "shall the work given me to do fare ill because of the perturbation of my spirit? No harm is done. of looking to Him for aid. by her side. because it had a separatist look about it. I preached. When I got to my study. I presume. went out at my vestry-door. was sorely troubled in his mind to know how he had offended God. no sleep came in answer to his cry! 181 . kept my thoughts strenuously away from that which discomposed me. And partly. that day. dying slowly and patiently in the prime of life and health. He sat carelessly. Gladly would I. and the old man remained. but. But when I got into the vestry I found that I could scarcely stand for trembling. not a little to my discomposure. But there was one of my congregation that morning who suffered more than I did from the presence of one of those who filled the Hall-pew. because. have I thought of poor Sir Philip Sidney. I cast my care upon Him. Now I must report another occurrence in regular sequence." I therefore prayed God to help me. for. as if he had no idea of what was coming next. because I felt the need. but when the end of the month came. though I suffer. nothing was said on either side. I being weak and God strong. How often in trouble have I had to thank God for sleep as for one of His best gifts! And how often when I have awaked refreshed and calm. "But. that Old Rogers consented to try for a month. and I must have looked ill. in consequence of the regularity of his wages. although I never that morning looked up from my Prayer-book." I said to myself. To my surprise. have shunned the necessity of preaching that was laid upon me. I saw that the Hall-pew was full.

Thanks to the care of Mr Brownrigg. like the light in the east after the sun is gone down. and the inward peace in which I found my heart was to myself a marvel and a delight. after I was already in the reading- desk. a clever young man in priest's orders. "I will arise and go to my Father. Never before had I felt. who was living at Addicehead while waiting for a curacy. which increased along with other signs of perturbation of the system.--Before the music ceased. and thus relieved me from all anxiety about supplying my place. the first low notes of the organ broke upon my stillness with the sense of a deeper delight. I was simply living in the consciousness of the presence of a supreme quiet. and more weeks passed during which I was unable to meet my flock. I felt ill before I went to bed. But I had no time to think more about it just then. and awoke in the morning with a headache. I found." There was no one in the Hall-pew. for I rose to read the words of our Lord. with bowed head. until I thought it better to send for Dr Duncan. as I felt that afternoon. that I was a few minutes early. but for the golden glow of the west." And I felt how through it all ran a cold silvery quiver of sadness. But for all the quietness of my mind during that evening service. it had crossed my mind that I had never before heard that organ utter itself in the language of Handel. I felt almost as if I was walking in a blessed dream come from a world of serener air than this of ours. 182 . I have not yet got so imbecile as to suppose that a history of the following six weeks would be interesting to my readers--for during so long did I suffer from low fever. which looks after the light of the world with a patient waiting. kindly undertook my duty for me. indeed it was a rare occurrence if any one was there in the afternoon. which would have been pain. I woke just in time for my afternoon service. and while. the triumph of contemplation in Handel's rendering of "I know that my Redeemer liveth.

taking away Mr Templeton's table because he won't pay the church-rate. confident there must be a good reason for it. I know you would be vexed if you hadn't been told. CHAPTER XVII . as was just." "What church-rate?" I cried." I had as yet seen very few of my friends. and another farmer. "I never heard of a church-rate. and was remiss in setting it right. "I assure you I shall not be angry with you. He. and had not yet been out. that at last they seemed to have gained a prescriptive right to the office. here's young Thomas Weir in a great way about something. starting up from the sofa. Mr Brownrigg was not the man to have power in his hands unchecked. to suffer. as my reader will see. I could not but yield to his desire. when one morning Mrs Pearson came into the room and said. at this very moment. so much so. So little seemed to fall to the duty of the churchwarden that I regarded the neglect as a trifle. sir. Indeed.-- "Please. and those only for two or three minutes. his neighbour. which took place some year and a half before I became Vicar of Marshmallows. except the Doctor." "What is the matter. that after Mr Summer's death." he exclaimed. if you possibly can. "Oh. and the form of election fell into disuse. though I was very weak. Mr Brownrigg continued to exercise the duty in his own single person. and so told Mrs Pearson to show him in. Tom?" I said. and insisting upon seeing you. and nothing had as yet been said about the election of a colleague. sir." "There's Farmer Brownrigg. had been so often re-elected churchwardens. I had so far recovered that I was able to rise about noon and go into my study." 183 . But I cannot express equal satisfaction in regard to everything that Mr Brownrigg took upon his own responsibility. "and I am sure you will not be angry with me for troubling you. THE CHURCH-RATE. therefore. I had. but although I did not feel very fit for seeing anybody just then.

of considerable erudition. and have this looked to. for I wanted my people to feel that the church was their property. I believe. as I heard. I confess I was rather pleased. for which I cannot entirely account. and my reader will very probably be inclined to ask. amongst whom were the families of two or three farmers of substance. to which. All I have to suggest for myself is simply a certain shyness. is what I had made out about him from what I had heard. no one had responded. I had not made his acquaintance. upon insignificant points. and moved by a great dislike to national churches and episcopacy. did not fail to call a vestry. as usual. will say right. while the village and its neighbourhood contributed a portion of the poorest of the inhabitants. he did during my illness. This. There was a little chapel down a lane leading from the main street of the village. and they had chosen another. I daresay. People came to it from many parts of the parish. but which was partly made up of fear to intrude. a very worthy man. partly of a dread lest we should not be able to get on together. to my churchwarden. before I go farther. One day before I was taken ill. I had had a little talk with Mr Brownrigg about some repairs of the church which were necessary. 184 . in which there was service three times every Sunday. But Mr Brownrigg." And any reader who says so. with principles such as yours. if they could regard it as a blessing to have the church. "We must call a vestry before long. it is necessary to explain some things. I think I have already alluded to the fact that there were Dissenters in Marshmallows. whereupon he imposed a rate according to his own unaided judgment. their minister died. had taken more pains than might have been expected of him to make himself acquainted with the legalities of his office. or of being supposed to arrogate to myself the right of making advances. to keep it in decent order and repair. that the natural SHELLINESS of the English had something to do with it. and so the attempt should result in something unpleasantly awkward. Nor did any one of my congregation throw the least difficulty in the churchwarden's way. So I said. with the notion of pleasing me by the discovery that the repairs had been already effected according to my mind. Now. and must be done before another winter. who. I say." Now my predecessor had left everything of the kind to his churchwardens. and the inhabitants from their side had likewise left the whole affair to the churchwardens. At all events. in a by-the-by way. men should not keep each other at arm's length. likewise. I must say.--And now I must refer to another circumstance in the history of my parish. and that it was their privilege. should you have only hearsay to go upon? Why did you not make the honest man's acquaintance? In such a small place. but of extreme views. A year or two before I came. This. "But why.

" They did so. to the open-mouthed dismay of Mrs Pearson. and its rubicund hue declined. and. "as right as the devil would have it. "it's all right. "You see I'm prompt. I believe I had the right to be chairman at the vestry-meeting. I was yet able to call out. that I had become quite unconscious of illness or even feebleness. left the vicarage leaning on Tom's arm. I tell you. and at the very time when I was hearing of the fact was suffering distraint of his goods. "Now. had refused. bless my soul. to pay the church-rate when the collector went round to demand it. proceedings being pushed from the first in all the pride of Mr Brownrigg's legality. nor without significance. Breathless with haste. sir. for I believe he had hurried things really to please me. His face had lengthened considerably by this time. without one's own parson siding with t'other parson as won't pay a lawful church-rate. but. But such was the commotion in my mind." 185 . I have done everything according to law." "I assure you." I did the poor man wrong in this. I reached Mr Templeton's house just as a small mahogany table was being hoisted into a spring-cart which stood at the door. instead of even letting me know. sir." he said. had suffered a default." At the same moment Mr Brownrigg appeared from within the door." "Yes. "It's bad enough to have a meetin'-house in the place. and is proud of it. so will I. It was enough for me that Tom bore witness to the fact that at that moment proceedings were thus driven to extremity." "I didn't expect you would turn against your own churchwarden in the execution of his duty. Mr Walton. had been summoned before a magistrate in consequence. "I did not think you would stand upon ceremony about it. Hurrying on in more terror than I can well express lest I should be too late. I think he had not heard me." I said. Mr Templeton. then. accompanied by a broker from the neighbouring town of Addicehead." he said in an offended tone. "carry it back into the house. He approached with the self-satisfied look of a man who has done his duty. I rang the bell for my boots. "But." interposed Mr Brownrigg." "Why. You never seemed to care for business." I said. The porcine head of the churchwarden was not on his shoulders by accident. sir." "If you talk about legality. as a point of conscience. But I did not wait to understand all this now. had on this very day been visited by the churchwarden. you took advantage of my illness to hurry on matters to this shameful and wicked excess. Certainly YOU don't stand upon ceremony. how ill you look!" Without answering him--for I was more angry with him than I ought to have been--I repeated-- "Put that table down. sir. and." "I'm not so sure of that.-- "Put that table down directly.

But the broker was before me. "Twenty shillings. And if you carry away that table. or I will. "How much did he give you for it?" I asked. leaving the churchwarden and the parson standing at the door of the dissenting minister with his mahogany table on the path between them. I give you my word. who had stood by during the dispute. "for a table that cost three times as much at least!--What do you expect to sell it for?" "That's my business.--but in silence. jumped into his cart with his man. I feel so disgraced." "Possibly. as if nothing had happened. and paid for it." "Twenty shillings!" I exclaimed. will be. if you do not take it to quench strife. not graciously. He sat reading an old folio. he pocketed the money. I shall see what the law will do for me. "let me take it." I turned to Mr Brownrigg." He yielded." answered the broker. I think." interposed young Tom." returned the broker. sulkily." And so Mr Brownrigg and I blundered into the little parlour with our burden--not a great one. now. It will go to pay counsel." returned he.--that could not be expected." interposed the broker. saying-- "FIFTY PER CENT." "Nonsense! Tom. "I've bought it of the churchwarden. Mr Brownrigg. "I am not bound to sell except I please. But I tell you the whole affair is illegal. 186 ." I stretched out my hand. Keep away." I said. Without another word. I pulled out my purse. "Now. and drove off. "and it won't pay expenses. You're not able to lift it." "It's my property. I am ashamed to look Mr Templeton in the face." "I did not offer you the table. and at my own price. profit enough even on such a transaction. leaving his position uncovered. But when we entered he rose. directly. but I began to find myself failing. I assure you I will prosecute you myself." I said. and threw a sovereign and a half on the table. You take up that money. Mr Templeton sat in a Windsor chair in the middle of the room. "I would have paid the church-rate for the whole parish ten times over before such a thing should have happened. Evidently the table had been carried away from before him. "lend me a hand to carry this table in again. "Oh! sir. Carry that table into the house again. "It is all the reparation I can make. The floor was strewed with the books which had lain upon it.

187 . with Mrs Templeton bathing my forehead. but looked embarrassed. you know. The room began to whirl round me. my churchwarden"--Mr Brownrigg gave a grunt--"that you should have been annoyed like this. But you did very wrong towards Mr Templeton. "I beg your pardon for myself and my friend here. "On no other ground--" "I know it. but Mr Templeton. laying his hand on mine. about forty. then at me. was not that a courteous speech? He went on-- "Mr Brownrigg has gone for Dr Duncan. that he went home with the conviction that he had done perfectly right. with short black hair and overhanging bushy eyebrows. And here I may as well sketch the result of that strange introduction to the dissenting minister. and I remember nothing more till I knew that I was lying on a couch. for I knew nothing of it. "Mr Templeton. But perhaps I may be doing him wrong again." he said. and I have done my best to make amends for it. and that the parson had made an apology for interfering with a churchwarden who was doing his best to uphold the dignity of Church and State. "I beg your pardon. "I assure you it was a matter of conscience with me. I will try to show you that when I am well again. and I was taken home. Before we started. His carriage followed. and I sat down. Dr Duncan came. So I shook hands with Mr Brownrigg. His mouth indicated great firmness. I know it. add to your kindness this day. said-- "My dear sir. but I trust I have not incurred the woe that follows upon them by means of whom they come. I spoke in heat when I came up to you. and even with humour." I said. and will be back in a few moments." I yielded and lay still. interrupting him in my turn. as if begging somebody to tell him what to say. Offences must come." said Dr Duncan. and Mr Templeton trying to get something into my mouth with a spoon. and I am sure I did you wrong. He was a man of middle size." I said. I have--" Mr Templeton interrupted me. and holding out my hand. and then at Mr Brownrigg. and indeed was too ill--" Here my strength left me altogether. I fear. Ashamed to find myself in such circumstances. from what I know of my churchwarden. and a lengthened process of recovery. and we parted. I went home to a week more of bed. not unmingled with sweetness. You meant no harm to me. glancing first at the table. But I did not leave him a moment in this perplexity. but--" "But you mustn't talk more now. by letting my wife and me minister to you. quitting the table. during which many were the kind inquiries made after me by my friends." Now. and amongst them by Mr Templeton. Mr Templeton. I said to Mr Brownrigg--for I could not rest till I had said it-- "Mr Brownrigg. I beg you will not exert yourself. I am certain you had no improper motive in not making me acquainted with your proceedings. He smiled as he rose. I tried to rise.

Whereas." I returned. I want." 188 . if you will allow me. expostulating with me on the inconsistency of my remaining within the pale of the ESTABLISHED CHURCH." "But ours is His Church. I said.-- "You ask me. Come and dine with me to-morrow. whatever Church He belonged to.--I do not like writing letters. are not only possible. I received a friendly letter from him one day." "Yes." "I do not quite understand you. especially on subjects of importance. "that just to such a Church our Lord belonged. I speak of Him as belonging to a Church. and recognized by most of its members as likewise expedient. The gist of the letter lay in these words:-- "I confess it perplexes me to understand how to reconcile your Christian and friendly behaviour to one whom most of your brethren would consider as much beneath their notice as inferior to them in social position." To this I replied:-- "MY DEAR SIR. and the influence of the higher upon the lower classes of society. to show you the principle upon which He acted with regard to church-rates. He accepted my invitation at once. Mr Templeton." interposed Mr Templeton. and parish work. with your remaining the minister of a Church in which such enormities as you employed your private influence to counteract in my case. and as soon as Mrs Pearson had shut the door. on the ground that we want to have a long talk with each other without the distracting influence which even her presence would unavoidably occasion. not upon indifferent. At length we sat down on opposite sides of the fire. but certainly lawful." "Our Lord belonged to the Jewish Church. in your very kind letter--" and here I put my hand in my pocket to find it. But principles remain the same. "how you could belong to a Church which authorizes things of which you yourself so heartily disapprove. in a personal interview." &c. I beg your pardon for interrupting you. There are a thousand chances of misunderstanding. but upon the most interesting subjects-- connected with the poor. After I was tolerably well again. His conduct would be the same in the same circumstances. there is a possibility of controversy being hallowed by communion. at any hour convenient to you. During dinner we talked away. "I am." "Certainly. &c. "I asked you. because He would always do right." "And I answer you. and make my apologies to Mrs Templeton for not inviting her with you.

" exclaimed Mr Templeton. however we may differ. what came to the same thing. But our Lord did not therefore desert the Church. make a servant of His Father. was for the support of the temple and its worship. as you would have me do." "You are very generous. that our Lord was. or. a fish in the sea of Galilee. we are in reality at no strife." "But is there not this difference. notwithstanding the many ways in which they had degraded the religious observances of the Jewish Church. for receiving the Jewish Church as the appointment of God. if it really was such. Mr Templeton. that Dissenters alone should be COMPELLED to pay church-rates. "May I hope that you will do me the credit to believe that if I saw clearly that they were the same thing. Our Lord did not refuse to acknowledge their authority. that I can show you. we MAY take tribute of you. Then I resumed: "But the real argument is that not for such faults should we separate from each other. I do not say equally wrong: it is much worse to compel than to refuse. the payment of a church-rate. lest He should offend." returned Mr Templeton. but said that. And there I have YOU. And not having it of His own. not for such faults." "I grant it: it is entirely wrong--a very unchristian proceeding. appointed such by God. which. Therefore. like the kings of the earth." 189 . as a child. He acknowledged himself a child of the Church. namely. a child of the Jewish Church." "I believe it perfectly. and wrong to refuse.' So you see it would come to this. and not to be compelled after such a fashion." "I will yield the point when you can show me the same ground for believing the Church of England THE NATIONAL CHURCH. and you know already. or church-rate. I would not hesitate a moment to follow our Lord's example. He had to ask His Father for it. 'Then you are a stranger. or any faults. so long as it is the repository of the truth. "He said they were wrong to make the tribute. which was indubitably established by God? Now. and no child. bring Him the money. should you separate from the Church. it is allowed. why should I have to pay church-rate or tribute?" "Shall I tell you the argument the English Church might then use? The Church might say. "The Pharisees demanded a tribute. as you say. He ought to have been left to contribute as He pleased to the support of its ordinances. HE PAID THE MONEY. compulsory. therefore. if I cannot conscientiously belong to the so-called English Church. It is wrong to compel." We both laughed at this pushing of the argument to illegitimate conclusions." "There I have you.

"because I don't choose to say anything more till I have thought about it. Mr Walton. but he went on. and the truth is preached in it?" "Most willingly would I pay the money. knowing He would have us speak our minds to each other. who was thinking. I would just ask you whether you are not sufficiently a child of the Church of England. yet through your fathers. should I be anxious to convince you of anything? Will you not in His good time come to see what He would have you see? I am relieved to speak my mind. having received from it a thousand influences for good." "And therein you have our Lord's example to the contrary. if in no other way. though surely you are right in thinking we ought to have patience with each other." Again a silence followed. but I'm no fool either." A silence followed. as I hope you will allow. "Don't you regard me as an interloper now--one who has no right to speak because he does not belong to the Church?" 190 . Then Mr Templeton spoke:-- "Don't think I am satisfied. And now tell me true. Why. "That would involve a long argument. then. is teaching you. I hope. I believe. and not very unreasonable. I resumed:-- "A thousand difficulties will no doubt come up to be considered in the matter.--don't be offended at my question: wouldn't you be glad to see me out of your parish now?" I began to speak. you will probably do so on different grounds from any I give you. Meantime. though I have little doubt upon the matter myself. upon which. if. our Elder Brother. If you change your mind. in some imperfect measure God is worshipped. on grounds which show themselves in the course of your own search after the foundations of truth in regard perhaps to some other question altogether. and the Spirit that proceedeth from them.--I'm a blunt kind of man. I cannot say I am prepared to enter at this moment. one of Cromwell's Ironsides. I object simply because the rate is compulsory. as I believe I too am being taught by the same. Do not suppose I am anxious to convince you. but I do not want to proselytize. I think you are wrong in your conclusions about the Church." he said. descended from an old Puritan. for I had to deal with an honest man. I believe that our Father. and I haven't been to a university like you. to pay a trifle to keep in repair one of the tabernacles in which our forefathers worshipped together. to find it no great hardship.

" said Mr Templeton at length. Speak that you do know and testify that you have seen. Preach to them in the name and love of God. which surely. "God forbid!" I answered. and although I could not help him myself. "they might find there was not such a gulf between them as they had fancied. all the sources of the influences which had refined and elevated him. should receive a less portion of elevation or comfort in his journey towards his home? Are there not countless modes of saying the truth? You have some of them. After this Mr Templeton and I found some opportunities of helping each other. and he had not made any acquaintance with her till comparatively late in life. I hope I have some. "Do not preach. I directed him to such help as was thorough and cost him nothing. "If people could only meet. All his memories of a religious childhood." Once more followed a silence." I will not be guilty of the same towards you. because of a deed of mine. "If a word of mine would make you leave my parish to-morrow. and by your conduct. if not before. were surrounded with other associations than those of the Church and her forms. should cease to be estranged because of difference of opinion. You and I will help each other. I do not want to incur the rebuke of our Lord--for surely the words 'Forbid him not' involved some rebuke. Mr Templeton. I only say that in separating from us you are in effect. The Church was his grandmother. And though this may seem of no consequence to one who loves the Church more than the brotherhood. I dare not say it. But it is time to unite now. inevitable as offence. I am sure that his feelings were moderated. not his mother. For it is of consequence that two men who love their Master should recognize each that the other does so. does not involve the same denunciation of woe. for you follow not with us. and look each other in the face. or that I never expected he would. it does not seem of little consequence to me who love the Church because of the brotherhood of which it is the type and the restorer. Once he came to me about a legal difficulty in connexion with the deed of trust of his chapel. I write it to commemorate the spirit in which Mr Templeton met me. even changed towards her. But while I do not say that his intellectual objections to the Church were less strong than they had been." And so we parted. in proportion as we serve the Master. Your fathers did the Church no end of good by leaving it. Now I do not write all this for the sake of the church-rate question. and thereupon. I need not say he never became a churchman. People will hear you who will not hear me. 191 . Would it not be a fearful thing that one soul. saying to us. And many a time ere his death we consulted together about things that befell.

and say he would be much obliged to him for his contribution. But. no one dreamed of calling on Mr Templeton for his share in it. AND MR BROWRIGG REFUSED TO TAKE IT TILL HE HAD CONSULTED ME! I told him to call on Mr Templeton. 192 . having heard of it. and give him a receipt for it. he called himself upon the churchwarden--Mr Brownrigg still--and offered the money cheerfully. And when the circumstance did take place. It was long before another church-rate was levied in Marshmallows.

reading every word. And perhaps to words spoken under these impressions may partly be attributed the fact. till. and so have babbled of himself more than he ought--may be sufficiently interested. new marvels of architecture. and she came to the last and read it from top to bottom--down to the finis and the urn with a weeping willow over it. to cast a speculative thought upon the state of my mind. and leave the glorious ruin dead to me as it had so long been to every one else. in concert with the comfortable confidence afforded by the mask of namelessness. I did not suffer quite so much as some would have suffered during such an illness. and sometimes an old woman of the village who was generally called in upon such occasions--I may have talked a good deal of nonsense about Miss Oldcastle. one by one. slowly turning leaf after leaf. with more of hope than is usually mingled with the other elements composing the temperament of humanity. Would I could see with the waking eye such a grandeur of Gothic arches and "long-drawn aisles" as then arose upon my sick sense! Within was a labyrinth of passages in the walls. ever disappointed and ever dissatisfied. which was a not uncommon occurrence. Perhaps my reader may be sufficiently interested in the person. knew that if I did not find her before that terrible last page was read. no one seeming to care about them but myself. For I remember that I was haunted with visions of magnificent conventual ruins which I had discovered. being by nature gifted. with regard to Miss Oldcastle and the stranger who was her mother's guest at the Hall. which I knew nothing of till long afterwards. who. that the people of the village began to couple my name with that of Miss Oldcastle. I should never find her at all. having once begun to tell his story. lay it down on the floor." and sudden galleries. and the chair beside it upon which she had sat so long waiting for some one in vain. rise and walk slowly away. JUDY'S NEWS. never lifting those sea-blue eyes of hers from the great volume on her knee. But I have reason to fear that when I was light-headed from fever. may possibly have allowed his feelings. new galleries. because I knew that in one room somewhere in the forgotten mysteries of the pile sat Ethelwyn reading." and see the read and forsaken volume lying on the floor where she had left it. every leaf in the huge volume was turned. in my mental condition. especially in the early mornings during the worst of my illness--when Mrs Pearson had to sit up with me. Through these I was ever wandering. knew that she would sit there reading. when she would close the book with a sigh. Possibly. to run away with his pen. with one hope only left--that I might yet before I died find the "palace-chamber far apart. as I have certainly discovered. during my illness. I say. whence I looked down into the great church aching with silence. ever discovering new rooms. CHAPTER XVIII . I was left to wander through at my own lonely will. and "long-sounding corridors. but have to go wandering alone all my life through those dreary galleries and corridors. 193 . and which.

I hate that woman." "Did you ever think. having considerably recovered from my second attack. She walks like a cat. and auntie doesn't quite like it? But he's very nice. I am so sorry you have been so ill!" exclaimed the impulsive girl. as you call her. Mr Walton. who should be announced but my friend Judy! "Oh. grannie is gracious to everybody but auntie. not upon the rocks." "Is your visitor gone?" "Yes. I said: "Now tell me about the rest of them. and hide some confusion. and all?" "As many as you please to tell me about. There was no one from whom I could ask any information about the family at the Hall. and an excellent nurse. She's as white and as wolfy as ever. I am sure she is bad. I am so sorry for you!" "But I'm nearly well now. so to the best. Mr Walton." "Why isn't she gracious to auntie?" "I don't know. but into the desired haven. I wish you would marry auntie. dear Mr Walton. and the white wolf. the only." "Well. but that would never do. One day when. and sitting down beside me. the central help. I was yet left anxious and thoughtful. though we've always managed--I mean auntie and I--to hear about you. When all this vanished from me in the returning wave of health that spread through my weary brain. I think you would be so sorry for her. I only wish I had had a chance of letting you see. the causing cause of all the helps to which we had turned aside as nearer and better. I was sitting reading in my study." I smiled as I thanked her. She was enough to give you bad dreams all night she sat by you. But now I want to hear how everybody is at the Hall. He's so funny! He 'll be back again soon." "I didn't dream about Mother Goose. Judy. grannie. And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us. Mrs Pearson. Judy. I think grannie wants auntie to marry him." To stop the strange girl. that we have been compelled. Mother Goose." "Sarah comes next. taking my hand in both of hers. that I couldn't nurse you. Judy. "And that awful old witch. and--" "Mrs Pearson is a very kind woman. I daresay. I only guess. It would drive grannie out of her wits. what an awful thing it is to be bad? If you did. "I haven't had a chance of coming to see you before. I would have come to nurse you. "Ah! you think because I'm such a tom-boy. so that I was just driven to the best thing-- to try to cast my care upon Him who cared for my care. but it was no use thinking of it. Do you know. as to the last remaining. How often do we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource! We go to Him because we have nowhere else to go." "By that frumpy old thing. you could not hate her. but she would not heed me. long ago. and I have been taken good care of." 194 . I assure you." "What." I said. I don't QUITE like him--not so well as you by a whole half.

Didn't you hear?" "No. but sat looking fixedly at the carpet. And I did feel very ready to murmur. then?" "Not well at all. though. He won't like it at first." "Then your aunt knew you were coming to see me?" "Oh. "Who has played the organ. Think of HER there. and I could see the slow film of a tear gathering. "I wish some one would marry auntie." Judy did not answer. he is so out of spirits. but can make you able to do and be what is right. You do everybody good you come near." she said. I believe that's just what auntie wanted." "If to-morrow is fine." "I shall be careful. You have done me that much good." "How is Mr Stoddart?" "There now! That's one of the things auntie said I was to be sure to tell you. since your uncle was taken ill?" I asked. I was not surprised to hear that Judy hated Sarah. apparently half angry at the question. but there is that one Teacher ever ready to teach if you will only ask Him. But he'll come to. I saw. He was taken ill before you. Judy. Not grannie. knowing what I knew now. so long as grannie lives. and me here! 195 . and has been in bed and by the fireside ever since. auntie. Auntie doesn't know what to do with him. "Don't you know I have been an altered character ever since I knew you?" And here the odd creature laughed. What good did I ever do you. leaving me in absolute ignorance of how to interpret her. yes. "I HAVE been trying not to be selfish." I answered. How is Mr Stoddart. Don't forget who can do you ALL good. She was thinking." "Thank you. "Why. I told her. Judy. I fear it is not. Judy?" "Do me!" she exclaimed. though I could not believe that in such a child the hatred was of the most deadly description. "Mr Walton. I shall go and see him. you know. But presently her eyes grew clearer. turning almost sick at the idea of having been away from church for so many Sundays while she was giving voice and expression to the dear asthmatic old pipes. "I am afraid I must go on hating in the meantime. and remembering that impressions can date from farther back than the memory can reach. to be sure. You don't know how much you have got to learn yet." "I wish that were true. and turn Sarah away. at length." said Judy. I daresay." "I am very glad. like a spoilt child that had not had his way.--You mustn't let it out. There is One who can not only show you what is right. and you'll do him good. Judy. But that couldn't be. At the same time. Judy.

But his second brother is dead. as grannie says." "When was your uncle taken ill?" "I don't exactly remember. as she rose to go. Certainly I should be ashamed of myself. you know. and if only it should turn out that she had likewise inherited her mother's firmness. you know. Captain Everard has what grandmamma calls a neat little property of his own from his mother. She certainly was a strange girl. He would change his name to Oldcastle. "How were you able to get here to-day?" I asked. and she must get used to it. "Then. Judy. one of a class grannie does not in general feel very friendly to." "I will come if Dr Duncan will let me. have been more or less of cousins. had I not been personally so much concerned about one of the objects of her remarks. I shall manage somehow. I assure you. Nobody makes anything of her." "Never mind. with bitterness. But I never could understand the explanation. He never was ill in his life before. like a spear-thrust. that all the husbands and wives in our family. Perhaps he will take me in his carriage. that last time I was in church! And instead of thanking God for that. For we are always out and in of his room just now. But strange as she was it was a satisfaction to think that the aunt had such a friend and ally in her wild niece. But I can't. 196 . "What will grannie care for that? It's nothing to anybody but auntie. and he behaves to Dr Duncan just as if he had made him ill. she might render the best possible service to her aunt against the oppression of her wilful mother. "it must have been she that played I know that my Redeemer liveth. Don't you come with him. Mr Walton. or second or third cousins. Evidently she had inherited her father's fearlessness. so that the captain comes just within sight of the coronet of an old uncle who ought to have been dead long ago." I said to myself at last. here I am murmuring that He did not give me more! And this child has just been telling me that I have taught her to try not to be selfish. no. for he IS only a third son. or half-cousins. they sent through me-- those words spoken in such a taken-for-granted way! "He's a relation--on grannie's side mostly." "Oh! but you know that doesn't matter. Uncle can't bear doctors. I wish I could send the carriage for you." returned Judy. I believe. What makes it harder is. and the eldest something the worse for the wear." What a foolish pain. But you will come and see him to- morrow? And then we shall see you too." It was only after she had gone that I thought how astounding it would have been to me to hear a girl of her age show such an acquaintance with worldliness and scheming." "No. Just the match for auntie!" "But you say auntie doesn't like him. some where in Northumberland. for a hundred and fifty years.--What is the name of the gentleman who was staying with you?" "Don't you know? Captain George Everard.

" "They have been a good deal in London of late." 197 . Auntie wouldn't leave uncle. and the wolf is with her. I think it's that grannie wants to make the captain marry her. They say it's about money of auntie's. "Grannie is in London. But I don't understand. for they sometimes see him when they go to London. have they not?" "Yes.

Judy reddened and was silent." he returned. After salutation. for the time." said the invalid. that there is reason to apprehend more than a lingering illness." "I do not find etymology interesting at present. I walked to Oldcastle Hall. but I remember well how much slower I was forced to walk than I was willing. A sick man belongs to you both by prescription. like a sea over which the fretting wind has been blowing all night. Mr Stoddart?" "Much weariness. I could welcome death. "Judy. So is the doctor. sitting up in his chair. be quiet. He was seated by a splendid fire. I am very ill." "Yes. with his furred feet buried in the long hair of the hearth-rug." I returned. The smooth expanse of his forehead was drawn into fifty wrinkles. "Yes. "I hope not indeed." he exclaimed angrily. apologetically. her gray eyes sparkling with fun. "I am sorry to find you so unwell." I said--to try him." "I do not think. I am obliged to you for my new position in the social scale. worse than pain. "My dear sir. of course. you know. from what Dr Duncan says of you." I said." "Not seated in such a library as this?" 198 ." "They are very kind. A sick man is not a WHOLE man. I confess. There I found the two ladies in attendance upon him. He looked worn and peevish. I was shown at once to Mr Stoddart's library. All the placidity of his countenance had vanished. as it were. Mr Stoddart." "Thank you. "who is much interested in your welfare. I suppose. "What right has Dr Duncan to talk of me so?" "To a friend. He is but part of a man. I beg your pardon." "For my part I would rather talk about religion to a whole man than a sick man. and it is not so easy to tell what he can take. The following day being very fine. "to have two such nurses. He looked like a man who strongly suspected that he was ill-used." I could not help wishing he were as far up as any man that does such needful honest work. I meant only a glance at the peculiar relation of the words WHOLE and HEAL." I said. CHAPTER XIX ." sighed the patient "You would recommend Mrs Pearson and Mother Goose instead. Aunt and niece rose and left the room quietly. Nor was it only suffering that his face expressed. "Do you suffer much. in the most luxurious of easy chairs. for the autumn days were now chilly on the shady side. Mr Walton?" said Judy. languidly and yet sharply.-- "You are well off. would you not. THE INVALID. I found to my relief that Mrs Oldcastle had not yet returned. Of the tailor species.

in shelves. I rose. I am ill. dear." returned Judy. least of all this same morning. But can't I do something for you? Would you like me to read to you for half an hour?" "No. how Mr Stoddart reached the volumes arranged immediately under the ceiling. ill as he was. if Brutus have in hand Any exploit worthy the name of honour. and proceeded to put in motion a mechanical arrangement concealed in one of the divisions of the book- shelves along the wall." He made me no answer. Judy was on her knees on the floor occupied with a long row of books. "You know it is very venturous of you to let that shelf down. "Do you remember how Ligarius. But what there is in this foggy." "Then I think I shall only bore you if I stay." said Ethelwyn." "You couldn't help it. thank you. and attached to the shelf or rather long box sideways open which contained the books. proceeding to raise the books to their usual position under the ceiling. But I'm not going to attack you when you are not able to defend yourself. and returned my good morning as if there was nothing good in the world. auntie. The girls tire me out with reading to me. and I now saw that there were strong cords reaching from the ceiling. that looked like beams radiating from the centre." "If you have not. 199 ." Satisfied that. I resolved to make another trial." "I've heard all the news already. but soon learned the secret which I had in vain asked of the butler on my first visit--namely. We shall find a better time for that. it must be because you have never tried to find out." "I have got to-day's Times in my pocket. For Judy rose from the floor. "No. discards his sickness?-- "'I am not sick. How the books had got there I wondered. "Do take care. swampy world worth being well for. I oughtn't to have let you touch the cords.'" "I want to be well because I don't like to be ill. as my reader may remember. he might be better if he would. I'm sure I haven't found out yet. I hate the very sound of their voices. in Julius Caesar. Judy. for I had the shelf half-way down before you saw me. I found the ladies in the outer room. He just let me take his hand. when uncle is as jealous of his books as a hen of her chickens.

"I assure you. when the door of the inner room opened and Mr Stoddart appeared." "And I fear in trying to rouse him. (for the lust of the eye had its full share in his regard for his books. I have done him no good. He has been very good to me. must not be too hard upon my unfortunate neighbour. I should say--gave me such a pleased look that I was well recompensed--if justice should ever talk of recompense--for my defence of her niece. my friend Judy. if she does not turn out a very fine woman. "and I shall be more mistaken than I am willing to confess I have ever been before. But in another moment. and Judy had built up her face into a defiant look. I smiled. I am so much obliged to you for taking my uncle's part. She smiled in return. and what a comfort she is to me-- with all her waywardness. not seriously. I beg you will not again show yourself in my apartment till I send for you." "I am at your service. His brow was already flushed. and think nothing more of the matter than if he had already said he was sorry. 200 . "for I fear our talk may continue to annoy Mr Stoddart. Besides." I said. "Will you come with me?" she said. and followed her from the room." said Judy. with terrible emphasis on the word DARE. I assure you I have the greatest regard for." "Thank you." she said. spoiled after all.) he broke out in a passion to which he could not have given way but for the weak state of his health." Ethelwyn--Miss Oldcastle. She glanced at me with a distressed look. uncle." "And then. I. but you would hardly believe how good she really is. for one. "uncle is not a bit like himself. So Miss Oldcastle and I were left standing together amid the ruins. But Mr Stoddart had already retreated and banged the door behind him." "I am very sorry. The marvel to me is that with all the various influences amongst which she is placed here.-- only made him more irritable. His hearing is acute at all times. as well as confidence in. Ethelwyn was gazing in dismay. "But he will be sorry when he comes to himself. and the books were scattered hither and thither in confusion about the floor." began Miss Oldcastle. down came the whole shelf with a thundering noise. either from Judy's awkwardness. and so we must take the reversion of his repentance now. Mr Walton. and that dear Judy is provoking sometimes. I am afraid I help to spoil her." "I think I understand Judy." I returned. "Judy. or from the gradual decay and final fracture of some cord. "How DARE you?" he said. but when he saw the condition of his idols. when books are in the case. she is not really. leaving the room. and has been excessively so since his illness." I replied. "I am not in the least likely to be otherwise engaged.

that I almost broke out into thanks for the mere look. a better view than any other room in the house. I am sure. My eye fell upon a small pianoforte. contradicts your words. It was panelled in small panels of dark oak. "You don't want me. Seeing that these attracted my eye-- "Those are almost all gifts from my uncle. I gazed about me with a kind of awe." "I do. though. "Are you still as fond of the old quarry as you used to be. it is not a fit place for an invalid. threw her book down. and isn't a bit like himself. only that it wound about.--"You have been very ill. Whereupon Judy jumped from her seat. Consequently it was sombre. I should like to show you my little study." I said. Uncle is not well. Miss Oldcastle?" I said. "Come. not to speak of the stairs." She spoke as if she had wanted to say this. up which we climbed. auntie. like the room below. and its sombreness was unrelieved by any mirror. though." "I cannot call myself an invalid now. I have not been to-day. 201 . I would gladly have carried away the remembrance of everything and its shadow. "He is really very kind. "If you are not too tired already. There we found Judy. You mustn't be cross to us because uncle has been cross to you." I replied.--Just opposite the window was a small space of brightness formed by the backs of nicely-bound books. You must not go. and reached a charming little room. "it is too damp down there. "I think I am. and you will not think of him as you have seen him to-day ?" "Indeed I will not. you know. "I shall be delighted. Would you like to go down?" "Very much." said Miss Oldcastle." "Your face." said Miss Oldcastle. and I could do nothing for you who have been so kind to me." she went on. as we caught a glimpse of it from the window of a long passage we were going through. I think. glimmering slaty through the tops of the trees between. whose window looked down upon the Bishop's Basin. It has." And she looked so kindly at me. "Do sit down. and you know you should not have meddled with his machinery. almost like a ladder." I replied. and kissed her. This disclosed a little staircase. "And indeed. I go there most days." said her aunt. really. Judy. and ran to one of the several doors that opened from the room." said Miss Oldcastle. I am sorry to say." And Miss Oldcastle put her arm round Judy." By this time we had reached the little room in which I was received the first time I visited the Hall. "Ah! I forgot. but with more of carving. Judy.

--must be getting out of the fly now. with a faltering voice. Her face was flushed. auntie! here's grannie!" Miss Oldcastle turned pale. I have never done you the least service. just as I was taken ill. if you like. must give. Judy?" said her aunt." "Why. that would be giving." she said. Miss Oldcastle. smiling. I did not know you were playing. 'I know that my Redeemer liveth' would rise up in the troubled air of my mind." I said. we could cast the gift of a lovely thought into the heart of a friend. If instead of a gem.-- "Auntie. You gave me more trust in God. must have helped me through my illness. and you made me know that my Redeemer liveth. But you did more and better for me than that. I ventured just one glance. I suppose. And I am very glad I did not know it till I was better able to bear the disappointment. and sung by a voice which. I confess I felt embarrassed. I then found. I had been troubled all the morning. I think. Mr Walton. "when I sang--I mean played--that. "Is she come in?" asked Miss Oldcastle. But that instant Judy. you have repaid me long ago." "Tell me first. if that is all." She turned her face towards me: those sea-blue eyes were full of tears. Often when I was most oppressed. as if I had been caught in something underhand.--something which in its own nature IS. fearing to embarrass her. or even of a flower. I am so glad it did somebody good! I fear it did not do me much. But it is only for what I heard that I mean now to acknowledge my obligation. I have played the organ every Sunday since uncle was taken ill. as the angels. mind. answered for her. with the exclamation. I never questioned to be yours. bounded into it. did you play the organ in church that afternoon when--after--before I was taken ill--I mean the same day you had--a friend with you in the pew in the morning ?" I daresay my voice was as irregular as my construction. though I felt a difference. "I was troubled myself.--what is the most precious gift one person can give another?" She hesitated." "Then I am in your debt more than you know or I can tell you. had left the room. 202 . "She is just at the door. "I only wish I had a chance of doing anything for you. "I did. "It must be something imperishable." she said. and I. What SHALL we do?" "What DO you mean. "But if I had done all I ever could hope to do. But she answered me at once." "How? I do not know what you mean. as I took a chair in the window. though I never heard you sing. trying to speak with indifference. "I know that now. and what other gift so great could one give? I think that last impression. who." And she rose to get the music.--I will sing it to you now. Tell me.

at least. not ill-pleased. that grannie will look as black as a thunder-cloud to find Mr Walton here. 203 . I insisted on going out alone. with a sweet smile on such a pale troubled face. Miss Oldcastle led the way down the stairs. did not leave it to me to settle the matter. Do be generous. "certainly in my opinion too ill to receive visitors." "I am afraid. I followed. deliberately handing her over to the torture for the truth's sake." returned Judy. I don't care for myself. rather than that she should innocently suffer for my being innocently there. or to creep out of the house as if I were and ought to be ashamed of myself. either to bring suffering on her. Then she won't be a bit the wiser. but you know on whose head the storm will fall. than I care definitely to confess. She held out no hand to greet me. All that I have just written had but flashed through my mind when she said:-- "Judy. but I could not be annoyed that I had made it. The affair was not so bad as it might have been. and take my side--that is. are they?" she replied. I bowed. dear Mr Walton. Miss Oldcastle. I would have resolved at once to lay myself open to the peculiarly unpleasant reproach of sneaking out of the house. that therefore I could not risk ever the appearance of what was mean. that I was more moved for her. auntie dear. and said I was sorry to find Mr Stoddart so far from well. with my visit. come down the back-stair. I believe that had I been in any other relation to my fellows. I shall have to give her up some day. however. Come. for shame to propose such a thing to Mr Walton! I am very sorry that he may chance to have an unpleasant meeting with mamma. auntie's. and Judy brought up the rear. inasmuch as." So saying." I said to Miss Oldcastle. But I was a clergyman. Judy. it will only be because she can't. Do. Mr Walton. we will show Mr Walton out together. "I fear he is far from well. But this kindness. she is so hard to take care of! and she's worse since you came. "Well you know. and I felt. "You are very troublesome. pouting." she returned. I'll manage it all." It was a stupid speech. but we can't help it." "It wasn't for Mr Walton's sake. meeting the mistress of the house in no penetralia of the same." Here was a dilemma for me. Thereupon. as my readers will believe. more than I had ever felt before. as well as I do. "I can never hope to return. Judy. auntie. and met Mrs Oldcastle in the hall only. to save whom I would have borne any pain. I must thank your aunt for taking the part of my duty against my inclination. she bowed and passed on. I turned and walked out. "All obligations are not burdens to be got rid of. Mr Walton. and if she doesn't speak as loud.

I took for my subject one of our Lord's miracles of healing. to know the music I liked best. Mr Aikin. and tried to show my people that all healing and all kinds of healing come as certainly and only from His hand as those instances in which He put forth His bodily hand and touched the diseased. was a consideration of vital import. like one upheld on the unseen wings of ministering cherubim. and so interfere with my work. reading prayers. my people. But one thing I could not help noting--that she seemed. the more honourable. saith your God. the more tender. I seldom saw Miss Oldcastle. if my calling meant anything real. lest an interview should trouble my mind. by some intuition. and I spoke. From that day I recovered rapidly. I forget which now. or at least that it was better not." I wanted to do my work the better that I loved her. 204 . or what the value of the utterance in itself might be. I say." I tried hard to prevent my new feelings from so filling my mind as to make me fail of my duty towards my flock. True. I only speak of my own feelings. and the next Sunday had the pleasure of preaching to my flock. with little that I can remember worthy of record. I felt that I ought not. which. Thus week after week passed. How it might be to those who heard me. "Let me be the more gentle. and great help she often gave me by so uplifting my heart upon the billows of the organ-harmony. for Mr Stoddart continued too unwell to resume his ministry of sound. as far as my own feeling was concerned. forasmuch as they are her brothers and sisters too. I cannot tell. towards these my brothers and sisters. the gentleman already mentioned as doing duty for me. I said to myself. comfort ye. she played the organ still. that my thinking became free and harmonious. but I never made any attempt to see her as she came to or went from the organ-loft. and during this period never alone. and told them to be whole. "Comfort ye. And as they left the church the organ played.

act upon it?" I think I may be a little excused for the sense of creeping cold that passed over me at the thought of such remarks as these. merely as an accident of his history. or add to the discomfort to which Miss Oldcastle was already so much exposed. contrary to my nature. and would be better still. But does one of them believe what he says? or. 205 . For a man by showing how to use money. "Ah! you see! That's the way with the clergy! They talk about poverty and faith. Miss Oldcastle was likely to be rich some day--apparently had money of her own even now. First of all. and the comfort that flowed from such a negative source was yet of a very positive character. and I could not tell how far such measures might expedite the event I most dreaded. So the time went on. Besides. Does my reader wonder why I did not yet make any further attempt to gain favour in the lady's eyes? He will see. He continued in the same strangely irritable humour. and what chance will a poor girl have beside a rich one! It's all very well in the pulpit. accompanied by compressed lips and down-drawn corners of the mouth. and found him. may do more good than by refusing to possess it. I could not venture until she had seen more of me. and altogether unworthy of a true man. better. had I seen the way otherwise clear. For I had always shrunk. and least likely to impute to me worldly motives. and reiterated nods of the head of KNOWINGNESS. both from instinctive dislike to me. and how to enjoy more of her society while her mother was so unfriendly. for I had never tried to conquer it. At the same time--will my reader understand me?--I was in some measure deterred from making further advances by the doubt whether her favour for Captain Everard might not be greater than Judy had represented it. But I mention this only as a repressing influence. for I feared that to call oftener might only occasion measures upon her part to prevent me from seeing her daughter at all. Meantime I heard nothing of Captain Everard. and being made the object of such remarks as. or rather simply by using money aright. that is. But he would not allow that he was. Dr Duncan said he was better. at least. It's their business to talk so. I called once or twice on Mr Stoddart. as paltry as they are vulgar. seemed far too gorgeous a castle in the clouds ever to descend to the earth for me to enter it--the POOR of my own people would be those most likely to understand my position and feelings. somehow. from rivalry of every kind: it was. as I thought. to which I certainly should not have been such a fool as to yield. and was it a weakness? was it not a weakness?--I cannot tell--I writhed at the thought of being supposed to marry for money. if he will think for a moment. pretending to despise riches and to trust in God. I did not know. if it comes to him in an entirely honourable way. but just put money in their way. in such a case as mine. I can hardly say with invincible dislike. and because of the offence I had given her more than once. But I was glad to feel pretty sure that if I should be so blessed as to marry Miss Oldcastle--which at the time whereof I now write. if he would only believe it and exert himself.

MOOD AND WILL. 206 . CHAPTER XX .

how he stood at the corner of a London street. "Is this my burden?" a thousand ministrations of nature and life will come with gentle comfortings. but a prophecy of the spring. or primrose. And the story would not be complete-- though it is for the fact of the arrival of unexpected and apparently unfounded HOPE that I tell it--if I did not add. and rains. with the rain. in the retrospect of my history. Well do I remember a friend of mine telling me once--he was then a labourer in the field of literature. Across a dark verdureless field will blow a wind through the heart of the winter which will wake in the patient mind not a memory merely. But not only do both run their course. and those white falling chaoses of perfect forms--called snow-storms--those confusions confounded of infinite symmetries. and as if it never would go over. Winter came apace. and very marvellously does the healthy mind fit itself to the new circumstances. but had left him enough to take him out of all those difficulties. and skies of weary gray. It came. It was Mr Stoddart. dripping black from the brim of his hat. shining aslant upon sheets of manna-like hoarfrost. my friend's story is true. but also with its fierce red suns. with its fogs. 207 ." but whatever I am. or snow- drop. with a glimmer of crocus. and yield no ear to suggested failure. coming he knows not whence. in the morning. and sodden paths. And when the hard frost came. and how across this waste came energy and hope into his bosom. asking no more questions than just. but each has its own alleviations. So does threatened trouble of any kind seem to us as we look forward upon its miry ways from the last borders of the pleasant greensward on which we have hitherto been walking. and delicate ice-films over prisoned waters. its own pleasures. swelling thenceforth with courage to fight. am looking forward to. and which had lain with its black border all night in the darkness unopened. I say. and across the waste of tired endeavour will a gentle hope. his wife gave him a letter which their common trouble of yesterday had made her forget. and the poor men who worked for them were longing to follow. and rotting leaves. or may be thought to be.--Some of my readers may doubt whether I am more than "a wandering voice. that. who had not yet begun to earn his penny a day. it brought a friend to my door. breathe springlike upon the heart of the man around whom life looks desolate and dreary. When we look towards winter from the last borders of autumn. the dreariest of atmospheres about him in the closing afternoon of the City. pressing him down like the coffin-lid that had lately covered the ONLY friend to whom he could have applied confidently for aid--telling me. when a hope that had kept him active for months was suddenly quenched--a book refused on which he had spent a passion of labour--the weight of money that must be paid and could not be had. it seems as if we could not encounter it. and give him strength and time to do far better work than the book which had failed of birth. when the rich men were going home. waiting to tell him how the vanished friend had not forgotten him on her death-bed. though he worked hard--telling me how once. And all this has come out of the winter that I. and dripping boughs. while to those who will bravely take up their burden and bear it.

hoping to rouse him to conversation." "It was only the outside of me. the facts of my behaviour did not really represent my feelings towards you. I gave him as warm a welcome as I could. "The cold weather." "And many a man." "Yes. for I had just been reading the newspaper. Mr Stoddart. But I don't feel my green leaves coming. with others of black frosts and creeping fogs. Winter kills many a disease and many a noxious influence. "the foliage of whose character had been turning brown and seared and dry. I feel as if I had been in a wet hole in the earth. nor yet feelings indicated by facts. one must believe that winter and cold are as beneficent. with now and then a glimmer of the sun." "At least. though not so genial. And what is it to have the fresh green leaves of spring instead of the everlasting brown of some countries which have no winter!" I talked thus." "Well. and found that he would take no refreshment. But he showed no interest beyond what the merest politeness required. began to chat about the day's news. and I was successful." "The last is more like mine." I went on. Mr Walton. I will explain myself. as summer and its warmth. Don't you think illness is a kind of human winter?" "Certainly--more or less stormy. it now showed traces of feeling as well as plain signs of suffering." "Oh. but his pale face looked humble and distressed." "Indeed. my dear sir. He did not look ashamed. I hope not. I should have had none for being offended. certainly. after his flesh had come again like unto the flesh of a little child. He entered my room with something of the countenance Naaman must have borne. Don't say another word about it. Its somewhat self-satisfied placidity had vanished. You had the best excuse for being cross. "I feel just as if I were coming out of a winter. rattling rather than rustling in the faint hot wind of even fortunes. "It was your illness. seems to have brought you out into the air." "I do not quite understand you." "I know that as well as you do." "I wish it would be so with me. nonsense!" I said. I have come to tell you how sorry and ashamed I am that I behaved so badly to you every time you came to see me." "Facts are not always indicated by feelings. and having seated him comfortably by the fire. "It has revived me. yes." "Indeed. not you. has come out of the winter of a weary illness with the fresh delicate buds of a new life bursting from the sun-dried bark." 208 . With some a winter of snow and hail and piercing winds." I said. and instead of the diffused geniality which was its usual expression. I acknowledge it heartily. I know you mean me. I would try something else. which makes so many invalids creep into bed.

in fact. of what I call ME--so that I am almost driven to doubt my personal identity. urged. by sacred facts. that of faith. Mr Walton. to hear you put the question. In which a serpent did himself enfold. Mr Stoddart." "Will you listen to one of mine?" "With pleasure. resting in God and resisting every impulse to act according to that which APPEARS TO IT instead of that which IT BELIEVES. Mr Stoddart--perhaps a little too much so.--The inward holy garrison. that I am no more myself--lose my hold. which holds by the truth. But all such impressions caused from without--for. persistency. of which misrepresentations the presence." "It seems to me sometimes--I know it is a partial representation--as if life were a conflict between the inner force of the spirit. from without. at which yet Faith will not blench. Hence." 209 . That horror made to all that did behold. operating upon our senses. but. it settles it between me and you. acting according to what she believes. which lies in its faith in the unseen--and the outer force of the world. what is called actuated." "You are fond of theories. And in her right hand bore a cup of gold. whereas all our activity ought to be from within. and so enabled to resist the onset of the powers without.' This serpent stands for the dire perplexity of things about us. and if our inner life is not equally vigorous. the body and its innermost experiences are only OUTSIDE OF THE MAN--have to be met by the inner confidence of the spirit. The material. which lies in the pressure of everything it has to show us. and not by appearances. must be strengthened and nourished and upheld. That is always the point. With wine and water filled up to the height. although. and not what shows itself to her by impression and appearance. no reality but that of pain anywhere. Faith is thus allegorically represented: but I had better give you Spenser's description of her--Here is the 'Fairy Queen':-- 'She was arrayed all in lily white. during a mere headache it will appear as if there was no truth in the world." "Well. But what use am I to make of your theory?" "I am delighted. and iteration seduce the man to act from false suggestions instead of from what he knows and believes. by your goodness. and nothing to be desired but deliverance from it. is always asserting its existence. But she no whit did change her constant mood. to come to higher things. But sickness not only overwhelms the mind. we shall be moved." "Perhaps. "But that does not settle the matter between me and myself. causes them to represent things as they are not. nay. I understand all that. vitiating all the channels of the senses. A friend's remonstrance may appear an unkindness--a friend's jest an unfeelingness--a friend's visit an intrusion. remember. It is humiliating to think that illness should so completely 'overcrow' me.

'I have as much of this in art as you. and ambition. from a certain inclination to take the opposite side. I am rude to ladies who do their best and kindest to serve me. should my illness return to-morrow. Now that I am in my right mind. Shall I tell you where I think the fault of your self-training lies?" "That is just what I want. I want to be ALWAYS in my right mind. and to turn it to the contemplation of spiritual things. for I fancy I know a little more of illness than you do. Nothing seemed the same. and a certain dislike to the dogmatism of the clergy--I speak generally--I may have appeared to you indifferent. and pleasure. and humiliated yet besides that I have no ground of assurance that. I should not behave in the same manner the day after. "I admit all that you say. How is it to be fortified? For.' (You see I read Shakespeare as well as you." 210 . Mr Walton. When I am not.) I daresay. and yet yield to the appearance of being. I know I am not. gave me no pleasure when I was ill. The things which it pleased me to contemplate when I was well. and I talk to the friend who comes to cheer and comfort me as if he were an idle vagrant who wanted to sell me a worthless book with the recommendation of the pretence that he wrote it himself." "I understand perfectly what you mean. Yet on the first attack of a depressing illness I cease to be a gentleman. I am ashamed of myself. ashamed that it should be possible for me to behave so." returned Mr Stoddart. but I assure you that I have laboured much to withdraw my mind from the influence of money. that the inward garrison must be fortified--is considerably incomplete unless we buttress it with the final HOW. But yet my nature could not bear it so. "But still the practical conclusion--which I understand to be.

in virtue of whatever is true in your desires and your worship. not of the race." "But. how can he love God whom he hath not seen?'--which surely means to imply at least that to love our neighbour is a great help towards loving God. because I am fortunate enough to please you--to be a gentleman. it comes back again--of itself." returned Mr Stoddart. I do not see. you know not how. and capable of understanding. I cannot tell either. 'but if a man love not his brother whom he hath seen. and some friendly communication with you. but merely because my leaf is a little like your own that you draw to me. It is not because we grow out of the same stem. "I had had a true regard for you. To my sorrow. and therefore I am your brother." 211 .--Where you have been wrong is--that you have sought to influence your feelings only by thought and argument with yourself--and not also by contact with your fellows. I find it so. our unavoidable relations with humanity will expose us. than it was possible for the eremites of old to get close to God in virtue of declining the duties which their very birth of human father and mother laid upon them." "I don't mean really vanishes." "You are severe. you can only have right theories: practice for realising them in yourself is nowhere. somehow. And how without this love we are to bear up from within against the thousand irritations to which. Yet you will confess you have to wait till. how should I fail just with respect to the only man with whom I had held such intercourse?" "Because the relations in which you stood with me were those of the individual. If human intercourse were what is required in my case. under such circumstances. as it were." "Yes. there would be no room for the exercise of the will. We should go by our mood and inclination only. "If we were always in a right mood. or at least docile enough to try to understand. I confess. what you tell me of your plans and pursuits. At best. One friend cannot afford you half experience enough to teach you the relations of life and of human needs. I do not deny that you and the eremite may both come NEARER to God. and thereby leave the world of his own faults and follies behind. I hope--to be a man of some education. Besides the ladies of whom you have spoken. Disturb your liking and your love vanishes. But you do not feel any relation to me on the ground of my humanity--that God made me. Our Lord took on Him the nature of man: you will only regard your individual attractions. How this love is to come about without intercourse. You like me. I think you have hardly a friend in this neighbourhood but myself. But that is by the by. It is no more possible for a man in the present day to retire from his fellows into the cave of his religion. but disappears for the time. especially in sickness.

too--of spirituality of mind than any of us. instead of knowing God himself. of mercy. You ought at least to get into some simple human relation with him. though it may be of a superficial nature. is a mockery which will always manifest itself to an honest mind like yours in such failure and disappointment in your own character as you are now lamenting. And the most ignorant man in a little place like Marshmallows. But in religion one must be all there. But to be content with those. if not indeed in some mode far more alarming. You seem to me to have taken much interest in unusual forms of theory. to which in themselves I make no objection. You would soon find that it is not only to those whose spiritual windows are of the same shape as your own that you are neighbour: there is one poor man in my congregation who knows more--practically. and in mystical speculations. in himself--if it be possible." "Am I to understand you." 212 . but with the humble service of the elder to the younger. because gross and terrible. the lending of money--not spiritual conference or talk. in whatever he may be helped by you without injury to him. but he could teach you. or to substitute a general amateur friendship towards the race for the love of your neighbour. one like you with leisure ought to know and understand. as you would with the youngest and most ignorant of your brothers and sisters born of the same father and mother. Perhaps you could not teach him much. You seem to me to have been hitherto only a dilettante or amateur in spiritual matters. approaching him. Mr Stoddart. "Let me tell you the truth. I mean. and have some good influence upon: he is your brother whom you are bound to care for and elevate--I do not mean socially. our neighbours are just those round about us. Do not imagine I mean a hypocrite. that intercourse with one's neighbours ought to take the place of meditation?" "By no means: but ought to go side by side with it. the cup of cold water. but really. then." "But that would be endless. if you would have at once a healthy mind to judge and the means of either verifying your speculations or discovering their falsehood." "But where am I to find such friends besides yourself with whom to hold spiritual communion?" "It is the communion of spiritual deeds. deeds of justice. At all events. still less with that abomination called condescension. not with pompous lecturing or fault-finding. the visitation in sickness. The word amateur itself suggests a real interest. Never was there a more injurious mistake than that it is the business of the clergy only to have the care of souls. Very far from it. of humility--the kind word. that I mean: the latter will come of itself where it is natural. It would leave me no time for myself.

and the Spirit of God. Soon then would you have cause to wonder how much some of your speculations had fallen into the background. were yet dwarfed by the side of it. "And I promise you at least to think over what you have been saying--I hope to be in my old place in the organ-loft next Sunday. healing sympathies springing up in the most barren acquaintance. will by these loves. rising. to hold the resolution formed in health when sickness has altered the appearance of everything around you. strengthen you at last to believe in the light even in the midst of darkness. even fancies of those around you? In such intercourse you would find health radiating into your own bosom. even when you yourself are plunged in dejection or racked with pain. the lack of which led to the failures which you now bemoan. Nothing. showing itself grandly true. I can only say I have spoken in proportion to my feeling of its weight and truth." returned Mr Stoddart. feelings." "I thank you. so much as humble ministration to your neighbours. "Would that be no time for yourself spent in leading a noble. and opportunities afforded for the exercise of that self-discipline. Christian life. nothing but the love of God--that God revealed in Christ--will make you able to love your neighbour aright. which are life. while secured in the interest all reality gives. and to feel tenderly towards your fellow. in widening your own being by entering into the nature. which alone gives might for any good.--But." I said. 213 . thoughts. simply because the truth. channels opened for the in-rush of truth into your own mind. "I fear I have transgressed the bounds of all propriety by enlarging upon this matter as I have done. And Miss Oldcastle was in the pew with her mother. I repeat. had so filled and occupied your mind that it left no room for anxiety about such questions as." So he was. Nor did she go any more to Addicehead to church. in verifying the words of our Lord by doing them. will help you to that perfect love of God which casteth out fear. in building your house on the rock of action instead of the sands of theory. heartily.

but she was terribly worn. the same evidences of brooding over some one absorbing thought or feeling. though I cannot think that it would have been better left unmade. I may be forgiven here if I make the remark that I cannot help thinking that what measure of success I had already had with my people. which one might have imagined sullen and disconsolate because he could not make the dead earth smile into flowers. was looking through the frosty fog of the winter morning as I walked across the bridge to find Thomas Weir in his workshop. against which. that when I thought of a thing and had concluded it might do. to lay her among the leaves of past summers. the same forceful compression of her lips. all along the dark cold river." I called from the door. it was sad to look on the evident though slow decline of Catherine Weir. upon which the long hair stood on end. A red rayless sun. whence I had reason to hope that Christian principles and feelings had begun to rise and operate in him. but thus movement was kept up in my operative nature. have done something not only to soften his character generally. There was the same dry fierce fire in her eyes. having wandered away into the desert place. Thomas was busy working with a spoke-sheave at the spoke of a cart-wheel. Besides. to be dying of resentment. and her step indicated much weakness. As the winter went on. It seemed as if the dead season was dragging her to its bosom. an attempt in itself unsuccessful may set something or other in motion that will help. is a step towards finding out what will do. THE DEVIL IN THOMAS WEIR. to find out what will not do. Nature looked like a life out of which the love has vanished. and try what could be done for her. or appeared in it as often as the bell suspended over the door rang to announce the entrance of a customer. She seemed to me. The poplars stood like goblin sentinels. preventing it from sinking towards the inactivity to which I was but too much inclined. 214 . CHAPTER XXI . with black heads. I found I was wrong sometimes. Moreover. I would go and see him. Would nobody do anything for her? I thought. and to Dr Duncan as well. I very seldom put off the consequent action. I turned from it and hastened on. and that the particular action did no good. by this time. was partly owing to this. he had closed and barred the door of the sheep-fold. Thomas. My present attempt turned out one of my failures. "A cold morning. but to appease the anger he had cherished towards the one ewe-lamb. Nor had the signs of restless trouble diminished as these tide-marks indicated ebbing strength. She was still to be found in the shop. while surely the influence of his son must. when it cannot with all earnestness of endeavour recall a thought--a far more important fact! That will come again only when its time comes first. How curiously the smallest visual fact will sometimes keep its place in the memory. Would not her father help her? He had got more gentle now.

" "That's all very well. I'm making a few bookshelves. curiously. sir. "it is not easily warmed again. at length. going up to him first." I said. When a man's heart has grown cold. apparently with a presentiment of what was coming. A man must be at peace somewhen. sir." I went on. But you don't know where to stop. and very kind. I've given in more to you than ever I did to man. You and I too MUST go on or back." "Hammering the iron till it is red-hot. they always worked as far from each other as the shop would permit. and let me have half-an-hour. Tom?" I said. Not a word came from the form now bent over his tool as if he had never lifted himself up since he first began in the morning." returned Thomas." 215 . I felt embarrassed. sir. I cannot even imagine. cheerfully. as it seemed to me. for. To break a silence is sometimes as hard as to break a spell. sir. and it was a very large room. and I don't know that I oughtn't to be ashamed of it. "I fear there is no way of lighting it again. sir?" "I do. But it was for no such agony of effort that his were thus closed. "What are you doing. although father and son were on the best of terms." Still he looked at me. "I can always keep myself warm. "It is not easy always to keep warm through and through. I want to go on myself. I suppose my tone revealed to his quick perceptions that "more was meant than met the ear. but." I then went to the other end of the shop. and he began to work as if for bare life. If we lived a thousand years you would be driving a man on to the last. and to make you go on too." I said. Thomas. his tool filled with an uncompleted shaving." "I want to have a little talk with your father. And there's no good in that. The fire's hard to light there. What Thomas would have done or said if he had not had this safety-valve of bodily exertion. Just step out in a minute or so. except the blacksmith's way. a man must be at peace SOMEWHEN." "The question is. the blows of affliction must fall thick and heavy before the fire can be got that will light it. Thomas. I don't doubt. I could just see that his face was deadly pale. I hope?" "You drive a man too far." "Yes. laying my hand on his shoulder. sir. "you are not going to part company with me. sir. you mean. and his lips compressed like those of one of the violent who take the kingdom of heaven by force. whether I would be driving you ON or BACK. stooping over his work. Thomas. "Thomas. sir. I don't want to be parted from you now or then.-- When did you see your daughter Catherine. Thomas?" His head dropped." He looked up from his work. certainly. "A little job for myself. He went on working till the silence became so lengthened that it seemed settled into the endless. as I said afore. "And when the heart gets cold.

" "Be as attentive to him as you can. abuse her. but the disgrace you care for." He looked frightened." "Better a wakeful anger. "That's what I want so much that I want you to go on. I say it is not the wrong. I've put him out of temper. is all that you care about. leaning against the wall. Tom. I see. who. or you would have taken her to your arms years ago. You don't care for the misery of your daughter." "I don't see what that has to do with it. sir. and a sleeping dog of a conscience that will not bark. You are fierce in wrath at the disgrace to your family. "There's no harm done. Ah. He must have time to think over what I have said to him. SOMEWHEN. sir." "I will tell you. than an anger sunk into indifference. Let by- gones be by-gones. He will be best left alone. you are like Jonas with his gourd. Thomas. I say. Tom. the more wrong she has done." "I see. "or I may say what I should be sorry for. Better strike her. Your pride is up in arms." I turned at once and left him. with the chance of a kiss to follow. You make a mistake." I said. you care nothing about. Have you got this peace so plentifully now that you are satisfied as you are? You will never get it but by going on." "I do not think there is any good got in stirring a puddle. as you say. and a wakeful conscience with it. is the more to be pitied by a father's heart. The wrong your daughter has done. I've been talking to him about your sister." "Go out of my shop. Peace! I trust in God we shall both have it one day. "Don't speak to your father." "I will. I found young Tom round the corner. Your pride. and yet you will water it with your daughter's misery. The gourd of your pride is withered. To have ceased to be angry is not one step nearer to your daughter." 216 . "for a while. my boy. sir. in the hope that the fervour of your love would drive the devil out of her and make her repent. and reading his Virgil." he cried. in rousing an anger which I would willingly let sleep.

one can imagine. after which season the latter began to diminish in violence. contemptible as the Pharisee who. Shame was once more wide awake and tearing at his heart. till at length. but having been apprenticed to a dressmaker in Addicehead. and sent the spirit warm at heart into the regions of the unknown! She never would utter a word to reveal the name or condition of him by whom she had been wronged. and the former to become more fixed. a man whom young men are compelled to respect. They were not only the gossips of the village who judged that the fact of Addicehead's being a garrison town had something to do with the fate that had befallen her.--I say nothing of WILING it from her--is. by the time I had made their acquaintance. begun to recover. pure-bodied Milton. and dishonour. How often has an old love blazed up again under the blowing of his cold breath. had. apparently in a decline. after being there about a year and a half. which his very presence necessarily was. It was not alone resentment at my interference that had thus put the poor fellow beside himself. her feelings seemed to have settled into what would have been indifference but for the constant reminder of her shame and her wrong together. devours the widow's house. making "mad the guilty. with his long prayers." if such grace might be accorded them. sinking into the proud nature she had derived from him. and hope was strongest for its summer. however. while he walks off free. when its flowers were loveliest. Would to God a man like the great-hearted. her life was changed into the dreary wind-swept. She had been the belle of the village. and no doubt to that of her father as well. in its very spring-time. in his meanness. I was certain: I had called up all the old misery--set the wound bleeding again. a fate by which. would "appal the free. selfishness. He leaves her desolate. returned home. Most likely the misery of the father vented itself in greater unkindness than he felt." lest they too should fall into such a mire of selfish dishonour! 217 . That HIS daughter should have done so! For she had been his pride. and very lovely. To his child. rain-sodden moor. to her own disappointment. What a time of wretchedness it must have been to both of them until she left his house. After the birth of her child. she had. she behaved with strange alternations of dislike and passionate affection. utter such a word as. The man who can ACCEPT such a sacrifice from a woman. which. would in this our age. roused such a resentment as rarely if ever can be thoroughly appeased until Death comes in to help the reconciliation. as long as he drew his life from her.

saying in his will that he had done all I could require of him. so that I did not experience the least restraint from having to consider her. but I must just mention here that I had a half-sister. however. and that. and several journeys to London followed. though certainly the use of the latter word has of late become vague enough for all convenience-- therefore I have said nothing about my home-relations. It is only as vicar that I am writing these memorials--for such they should be called. and reached Marshmallows on New Year's Day. except in church. but so often as to make me believe she went wandering about frequently. however. But my sister was right in her anxiety. So. 218 . It was always at night. but that she could do so more than once--that was the marvel. That he was no common man will appear from the fact of his unconventionality and justice in leaving his property to my sister. begged me to take her with me. About this time my father was taken ill. She came into my ways without any difficulty. whose anxiety during my father's illness rendered my visits more frequent than perhaps they would have been from my own. about half my own age. I now began to note a change in the habits of Catherine Weir. I had never up to this time seen her out of her own house. My father grew worse. CHAPTER XXII . I began to meet her when and where I least expected--I do not say often. I will not eulogize one so dear to me. My sister being so much younger than myself. feeling it impossible to remain in the house any longer. THE DEVIL IN CATHERINE WEIR. dependent upon the former. my sister. without a choice. The marvel was. not that a sick woman could be there--for a sick woman may be able to do anything. And I soon began to find her of considerable service among the poor and sick of my flock. the latter class being more numerous this winter on account of the greater severity of the weather. As far as I remember. At the same time. and always in stormy weather. in giving me a good education. and in December he died. Now. we set out. her presence in my house made very little change in my habits. After the funeral. after arranging affairs. at which she had been a regular attendant for many weeks. rather than ANNALS. men having means in their power which women had not. it was unjust to the latter to make them. I began to miss her from church.

that is so often shed. and that comforted you?" Whatever it was that quieted me. "I know Thee that Thou art NOT a hard master. though I believe not at all unusual exaltation. and that will was as the magic line over which no effort of will or strength could enable the enchanted knight to make a single stride. even in the ordinary form of disputation in which it is not heart's blood. I could not see how I was to make any progress towards her favour. however. by mingling unconstrained with the tumult of the night. But I find I must give another reason as well. but soul's blood. Indeed there are many controversies far more immoral. that I have some considerable pleasure in fighting the devil.--I was now quite well. "We believe it easily. that it naturally sought relief. a pleasure of its own in conflict. The fact was. Odd as it will appear to some readers. All might have been so different. if I would be thoroughly honest with my reader. What a fearful thing would it have been for me to have found my mind so full of my own cares. I had become more troubled and restless about Miss Oldcastle. Possibly this assertion may seem strange to one likewise who has remarked the ordinary peaceableness of my disposition. than a brutal prize-fight. and had no reason to fear bad consequences from the indulgence of this surely innocent form of the love of strife. this need of doing something with nothing tangible in the reach of the outstretched hand. There is. and said. so worked upon my mind. even in struggling with a well-set. I will not stay to examine. And this consciousness of being fettered by insensible and infrangible bonds. But he may have done me the justice to remark at the same time. as often as the elemental strife arose. I had naturally a predilection for rough weather. for then you could at least see the lady. though none in fighting my fellow-man. that as I had recovered strength. and the day of my best labour drew nigh? Or will they answer.--Will my readers find it hard to believe that this disquietude of mind should gradually sink away as the hours of Saturday glided down into night. The will of one woman came between and parted us. I think I enjoyed fighting with a storm in winter nearly as much as lying on the grass under a beech-tree in summer." 219 . I can relieve him from the difficulty. Possibly my reader may wonder how I came to have the chance of meeting any one again and again at night and in stormy weather. and I have always experienced a certain indescribable. as to the manner in which they are conducted. not the less have I to thank God for it. The sources of this by no means unusual delight. thoroughly roused storm of wind and snow or rain. There seemed a barrier as insurmountable as intangible between her and me. indicating only that I believe the sources are deep. that I was unable to do God's work and bear my neighbour's burden! But even then I would have cried to Him.

Now. so accustomed to my going out in all weathers. One January afternoon. and the face thus hidden even from the darkness. the nearest approach to a moor that there was in the county. the only shelter it afforded lying in the inequalities of its surface. with a different hiss for every tree that bent. the body bent forward over the drawn-up knees. and self-involved. as I took a step or two towards her. Hast thou NO help for me?" Instinctively almost I knew that Catherine Weir was beside me. opening at right angles from the road. however. by this time. however. and now filled my room with the great sweeps of its moaning. and vanishing in the night. that she troubled me with no expostulation. it swept through the leafless branches around me. for unusual wanderings under conditions when most people consider themselves fortunate within doors. I turned into its defence to recover my breath. when. and cold. I felt as if the elements were calling me. what a sight it would be of waste grandeur with its thousands of billowing eddies. and swayed. and swallowing whirlpools from the sea-bottom of this common!" when. and rose to obey the summons. My sister was. I must return to Catherine Weir. Keen. I could not help saying to myself. I made my way to the gate and out upon the road. for the better part of a mile. the wind blowing hard from the south-west. being in the particulars discussed identical with that of mine. In a moment more. I sought a kind of common. but was followed by the words: "O God! I cannot bear it longer. just as twilight was folding her gray cloak about her. open and treeless. by the peculiarity both of my disposition and circumstances. And I remember I was thinking with myself: "If the air would only become faintly visible for a moment. I believe. melting the snow under foot. I had walked with my head bent low against the blast. the eccentricity of whose late behaviour. and then. coming to a deep cut in the common. whence at some time or other a large quantity of sand had been carted. or fence. turning to the right. "What is thy trouble to hers!" 220 . I was startled by such a moan as seemed about to break into a storm of passionate cries. conflicting. and unsparing. with my imagination resting on the fancied vision. and sorely disturbing the dignity of the one grand old cedar which stood before my study window. fighting for every step of the way. led to the necessity for the explanation of my habits given above. I thought I could distinguish through the darkness--imagination no doubt filling up the truth of its form--a figure crouching in such an attitude of abandoned despair as recalled one of Flaxman's outlines. away from the village. or shrub. though I could not see where she was. and tossed in its torrent. My spirits began to rise the moment I was in the wind. as I believe. and listen to the noise of the wind in the fierce rush of its sea over the open channel of the common. over which a wind like this would sweep unstayed by house. that I have quite accounted.

O mine enemy?" "If we had what we asked for always. Has He not suffered that He might help? But you have not yet forgiven. Before I had finished. I would make an attempt to probe the evil to its root. I fear. we should too often find it was not what we wanted. 221 . You. facing me with the whiteness of her face glimmering through the blackness of the night. And now when I heard her say. I have had wrongs that--" And here she stopped in a way that let me know she WOULD say no more. and. She." "You will not leave me alone. I have a duty to aid your better self against your worse. despairing before God. though I had but little hope. For the former kept her in a state of hostility towards her whole race: with herself at war she had no gentle thoughts. "I ask Him for peace. "Scorn my interference as you will. "I have yet to give an account of you." she said. So I had resolved that the next time I had an opportunity of speaking to her. are siding with your worse self. I may here remark that I had come to the conclusion. and I was so near her. and set her beside him on the rock which he felt firm under his own feet." All this time the wind was roaring overhead. for she could scarcely endure a word from her fellow-man. feeling that I must at length assume another tone of speech with her who resisted gentleness. "Hast thou NO help for me?" I went near her with the words: "God has. that until a yet deeper and bitterer resentment than that which she bore to her father was removed. she stood erect on her feet. "Have you a right to persecute me. "I will not leave you alone. she gave a slight start: she was far too miserable to be terrified at anything. "It is too bad. from pondering over her case." she said. no love for her kind. "and He sends me more torment." she said. and I must speak." And I thought of Ahab when he said." I said. although she spoke in a low compressed tone. help for His own offspring." Poor woman! It was well for her she could pray to God in her trouble. more than a right." "You judge me hard. it would be of no use attacking the latter." When I began to speak. but ever "She fed her wound with fresh-renewed bale" from every hurt that she received from or imagined to be offered her by anything human. was fierce as a tigress to her fellow-sinner who would stretch a hand to help her out of the mire. that I could hear every word she said. after all. of doing any good." I said. I did not follow you here. I confess. Catherine. "because I am unhappy?" "I have a right. "Hast thou found me. And I have to fear lest my Master should require your blood at my hands. indeed. but I have found you here. you may well believe me. But in the hollow was stillness.

and rudest gestures and taunts. "Tell me. let them drop by her side. "He lied. with a cry that seemed to pierce through the storm over our heads." she returned with forced but cool scorn. petulantly. cried to His Father to forgive their cruelty. that I meant what I did mean. freezingly. "That you have had wrongs. and derision. up towards the everlasting justice. and I trusted. For his sake I sinned. sir. then." "You gave him what was not yours to give. "have YOU nothing to repent of? Have YOU done no wrong in this same miserable matter?" "I do not understand you. Not even for the sake of Him who. Catherine!" "It is very easy to talk. even when the faintness of death was upon Him. And him who has done you most wrong. perhaps. you will not forgive. hanging on the tree. Catherine." I said." "No. and he threw me from him. and said nothing. not sure. What right had you to cast your pearl before a swine? But dare you say it was ALL FOR HIS SAKE you did it? Was it ALL self-denial? Was there no self-indulgence?" She made a broken gesture of lifting her hands to her head. 222 ." she cried fiercely." she said. "did not God give you a house to keep fair and pure for Him? Did you keep it such?" "He told me lies. Mr Walton. and bitter wrongs. "Catherine Weir." "No. I was fully resolved to be plain with her now." I said. or unwilling to believe. and you will not--not even for Him! Oh. after all the bitterness of blows and whipping. I do not for a moment doubt. He asks you to forgive the man who wronged you.

What if he had found a noble-hearted girl who also trusted him entirely--just until she knew she ought not to listen to him a moment longer? who. The strength of the woman is as needful to her womanhood as the strength of the man is to his manhood. despising all women for your sake. and no wrath. "Ah! poor sister. instead of humbling yourself before your Father in heaven. whom you have wronged more even than your father on earth. seeing in the glass of her dignity his own contemptibleness? But instead of such a woman he found you. No redemption for him in you. defiled by your spoil. and show you. would have bred fresh love. yet. true though they were. What had I done? To what might I not have driven her? And although all I had said was true. who let him do as he would. as far as I knew my own heart. she rushed out into the storm. to waken thy love. Do not seek refuge in the cant about a woman's weakness. You felt it even more than he did. "You knew you were doing wrong. fast and faster. there came a reaction of feeling from the severity with which I had displayed her own case against her. and I had spoken from motives which. and a vague fear which ever grew in my heart urged me to overtake her. and so before himself. ruining others the easier that he has already ruined you. to help you to hold the cup of your honour steady. I can and I will. with a womanly foreboding of disgrace. rose in the royalty of her maidenhood." And. "but I will have my revenge. rouse in thee anything but the wrath that springs from shame? Should I not have tried again. and yet again. Her dim shape went down the wind before me into the darkness. that you wronged your seducer. every one of them. "was it for me thus to reproach thee who had suffered already so fiercely? If the Spirit speaking in thy heart could not win thee. and looked him in the face? Would he not have been ashamed before her." 223 . as I sped after her. and a woman is just as strong as she will be. in God's name. I could not condemn. which yet you dropped on the ground. darting past me." I thought. glorying in his poor victory over you. And now. For you were his keeper. caring but for itself. how should my words of hard accusation. I followed. and then a sweet and healing shame." "He does! he does!" she shrieked. with a shrinking from the temptation. I followed in the same direction. and could just see that she took the way to the village. you rage over your injuries and cherish hatred against him who wronged you. for the wind was behind me. like that of her who bathed the Master's feet with her tears. unrepentant and proud. as he was yours. And now he walks the earth the worse for you. But I will go yet further. when his love showed itself less than human. For God made you with a more delicate sense of purity.

and I began to fancy I could again see the dim shape which had rushed from me. grief. in my mind it was suddenly changed into the half of a great dim prophecy by the answer which arose to it there. would not the sense of common wrong between them help her to forgive? And with the first motion of willing pardon. If I could but make her feel that she too had been wrong. She pulled the key of the shop from her pocket. Nor did I trouble her with any words. and hope. A candle with a long snuff was flickering on the counter. She was insensible. or her foot stumbling over something in the road. and the rain began to come down in torrents. when we readied the gate. "Lean on me now. But who knows?" And as I uttered the commonplace question in my mind. that it went to my very heart. with his head about a foot from the candle. she fell to the earth with a cry. half-sob followed. "Ah. Suddenly. and then she took my arm." "I will go home. my heart was yearning over her. "this is not much like painting the sky yet. The wind fell a little as we came near the village." I said." "What does it matter?" she said. and so I took her home. would not a spring of tenderness. But she would not listen to me. in such a tone of despair. "and I will help you to the vicarage." she answered. and stretched out on the counter. little darling!" I said in my heart. I was beside her in a moment. except. Her hand trembled so that I took it from her. lay little Gerard. "Where am I? Who is it?" she asked. and make it young and fresh once more! Thus I reasoned with myself as I followed her back through the darkness. that my heart had not been the less tender towards her that I had tried to humble her. and became certain of it. for the answer was "God. Even when my tongue spoke the hardest things I could find. for it was that she might slip from under the net of her pride. burst from her poor old dried-up heart. A wild half-cry. she made a great effort to rise. for you must get somewhere. I did what I could for her. listlessly. fast asleep. her strength giving way. I increased my speed. and succeeded. and in a few minutes she began to come to herself. at least." 224 . and opened the door. But again I answered for myself. for the darkness became less dense. to beg her to come into the vicarage instead of going home. and said nothing more. There must have been a moon somewhere behind the clouds. When she found who I was. "You must take my arm.

and lighted me. "you are safe for the night. I will. Just as I had finished putting it on. and now stood with it in her hand. I bore my child to the door that led to their dwelling. and was rising to lay him in his crib. Catherine stood staring at me without saying a word. I lifted the little fellow in my arms. Love him better. I made haste to leave the room and the house. and she made fierce gestures with her arm. Perhaps the heavenly Father will send you loving dreams. I will have my revenge. poor fatherless child. without heeding her. But she brought me his nightgown notwithstanding. I went home. In this I was almost successful. waiting for me to go. I saw that argument was useless. and bade her good-night. Mr Walton. and reflecting that her one consuming thought of revenge was some security for her conduct otherwise. I will dash it from his hand." I turned to Catherine." "What do I care? Why should I care?" And she laughed terribly. and his face was dirty. which was some relief to my anxiety. I had never been up those stairs before. But at length I saw the candle appear in the shop. trying as much as I could not to wake him. At the altar I will. but." I said. "Now. for his crib stood in a corner of this their sitting-room. and looked at me. Catherine had snuffed the candle. then threw his arms about my neck and kissed me." I thought. Revenge is far worse than anything you have done yet. But. and I know how. which might have been comfortable enough but that it was neglected and disordered. and proceeded to undress little Gerard. Forgive him. but I lingered for nearly an hour about the place before I could make up my mind to go home. and streaked with the channels of his tears. Even your mother's hardness will not make you sad now. What a sad face of suffering and strife it was upon which that dim light fell! She set the candle down upon the table of a small room at the top of the stairs. She looked dazed. In the morning it would not be even a dream to him. He had fallen asleep weeping. She just put her hand in mine. instead of returning my leave-taking. his mother followed. and now I saw that she did not even have her child to sleep with her. I laid him down and the same moment he was fast asleep. "You loved him once. as if for his mother. But without offering any opposition. I am only waiting my time. said: "Do not fancy you will get the better of me. "Love him again. he opened his eyes. so much was I afraid lest she should do something altogether insane. and therefore knew nothing of the way. I sat down on a haircloth couch. by being kind to that boy. 225 . perhaps from the effects of her fall. then gave a hurried look round. When he is just going to drink. Catherine." Her eyes were flashing almost with madness.

that we shall not want to dream any more. "that a big angel with white wings came and took me out of my bed. 226 . as if he wanted to whisper to me. The boy looked up in my face." I said. and groves were hardening into the frost of death. As I left the shop he crept out with me. then. my boy. For we shall be carried up to God himself. rivers. is my trouble compared to hers? I will not sink into it and be selfish. "I will not take him away. Gerard sat in a corner. and I went on through the village. That night my own troubles seemed small to me. "I dreamed last night. that poor woman was. and all their germs of hope becoming but portions of the lifeless mass. whose fair fields. Now go back to your mother." He obeyed at once. is my hidden and perfected will. yea. "If I am sorrowful. "God lives none the less. I found her in the shop. and I did not brood over them at all. Gerard. and I stooped to listen. looking very ill. In Him is my life. come back. and carried me high. looking as far from happy as a child of his years could look. high up-- so high that I could not dream any more. My mind was filled with the idea of the sad misery which." said the boy. What. rather than in which. "Gerard." I said. His will be done." cried his mother. and I prayed for her as for a desolate human world whose sun had deserted the heavens." "We shall be carried up so high one day. and obstinately reserved. And His will is better than mine." In the morning my first business was to inquire after her.

And now I knew that I had never been miserable in my life before. turned likewise. I could not have offended her. That road was now a flowing river that bore from me the treasure of the earth. and I. while my boat was spell-bound. But just as I reached the gate. but there the opposites were. CHAPTER XXIII . feeling like "a man forbid"--as if I had done her some wrong. What a stone lay in my breast! I could hardly breathe for it. and addressed her. breathing deep as she vanished from my sight. Yet there she glided up the road. where I learned afterwards the woman that kept the gate was ill. THE DEVIL IN THE VICAR. For her old manner. so that--I wonder at it now. had returned. I wanted just to pass the gate. I thought to see nothing but the empty road between the leafless trees. and here stood I. but so it was--after a few words of very ordinary conversation. But there I stood enchanted. and intreat to know wherein I had offended her. that I had never loved her as I loved her now. Miss Oldcastle came out of the lodge. till at length she turned the slow sweep. And I knew. whose influence I had strongly felt when I began to make her acquaintance. I bade her good morning and went away. too. and walked back the dreary way to the village. and I entered hurriedly. When she saw me she stopped. and look up the road towards Oldcastle Hall. What could have caused her to change her manner towards me? I had made no advance. fall at her feet. and I could feel them both. I would run after her. and could not follow. and she had chidden me for it. 227 . a certain coldness shadowed with haughtiness. I cannot make my reader understand how this could be blended with the sweetness in her face and the gentleness of her manners. which checked the smallest advance on my part. outside the gate. lying there like a dead stream that would not bear me on to the "sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice" that lay beyond. There was likewise a certain drawing of herself away from me. which I had almost forgotten. But I could say nothing better than the merest commonplaces. and there she floated away between the trees.

as usual. for he was one of the most diligent men I have ever known. and said no more. and I thought or fancied that the old scorn had begun once more to usurp the expression of it. I had. unhappy in his conduct to his daughter. abstained from going to him for a while. he added: "He's getting too uppish for me. Till he yielded to the voice within him. I could not expect that our relation to each other would be quite restored. and knew that I sided with his conscience." he returned. "but I called to-day partly to inform him that I am quite ready now to recommence our readings together. as I had for the last ten years of my life been striving to be a right will. So I went on to fulfil the plan with which I had left home. "How is Tom?" I asked. could have been such only on one side. but then circumstances which I have recorded intervened to prevent me. as it did. which. and needed no reconciliation. But. for I had not been in the least offended by the way he had behaved to me. with a thousand failures and forgetfulnesses every one of those years. As long as he resisted his conscience. had been behaving captiously and unjustly to his son. and unable to make up his mind to do right with regard to her." I said. in the meantime I would see whether a friendly call might not improve the state of affairs. as far as I was concerned. whom I had not seen in his own shop since he had ordered me out of it. Anything rather than indifference! That the heart of the honest man would in the end right me. Then. after which I hope you will find the Latin agree with him better. But his face was gloomy. however. I thought it better to make no reference to the past even by assuring him that it was not from resentment that I had been a stranger. I don't think the Latin agrees with him. "It is a long time since I saw you. and so had rendered himself more miserable than ever. however much he might desire to be friendly with me. was more accidental than intentional. while yet the desire grew stronger as hope recovered from every failure. so that as yet no advance had been made on my part any more than on his towards a reconciliation. Young Tom was not in the shop." he returned. This. including. To tell the truth. evasively. I found him busy." I could not help suspecting at once how the matter stood-- namely." "I can hardly wonder at that. I could not doubt. with a smile of peevishness not unmingled with contempt. but his eyes dropped. that the father. "Well enough. indeed. a visit to Thomas Weir. I was pleased to find that my words had had force enough with him to rouse his wrath. however. "Perhaps he finds it too much for him without me. and he resumed his work." 228 . in order to give him time TO COME ROUND. it was impossible he should regard me with peaceful eyes. as if he were trying to do me justice. Thomas. I would now try to do my work as if nothing had happened to incapacitate me for it. now.

irritated me. And I am not going to dispute with you now about whether there is a devil or not. I am not speaking in generals. I spoke to you as I ought not. more than his speech. was under a spell. I don't believe in the devil. knew that I had gone to him before I had recovered sufficiently from the mingled disappointment and mortification of my interview with Miss Oldcastle. "I beg your pardon. my friend. and with a mere "good morning. I always did say. and that made me lose my temper and be rude to you. I turned instantly and went back into the shop." I said." I said at length. that if you once give a priest an inch he'll take an ell. take no more trouble about him. sir--I mean. but I fear he has strengthened his bands and holds you now as much a captive as ever." "Life or death! What do you mean?" "I mean that whether you believe there is a devil or not. I wasn't made to go another man's way. "Thomas. It is for the lad's own sake that I want to go on reading with him. but maintained a sullen silence. And you won't interfere between him and any use I can be of to him. I mean NOW. I was troubled in my own mind. whatever may be your theory about it. and so it's very hard--more than I can bear--to be under so much obligation to you. "I had thought you were breaking every bond of Satan that withheld you from entering into the kingdom of heaven. and I am sorry I forgot it for once. You see I can't do as you want me. In a matter of life and death we have no time for settling every disputed point. not of theory about the devil. This. "Thomas. And if you yield to it. I was wrong. he shut up his mouth in a manner that indicated plainly enough he would not open it again for some time. I had spoken it ungraciously and selfishly. holding out my hand. Forgive me!" 229 ." "It is God I want you to believe in." Having said this." "Well. to have you go my way instead of your own is the last thing I could wish. that evil power. So it is not even your own way you are walking in. that while I spoke to him I was not speaking with a whole heart." "But you mistake me altogether. who are far more troubled than I am. but his. you KNOW there is an evil power in your mind dragging you down. will drag you down to death. I assure you. I repeat. and you know as to what I mean it." "It's no use your trying to frighten me. I could not bear it. Thomas. It is a matter of life or death. although I had spoken the truth. No sooner was I in the open air than I knew that I too. "I wish you would let him alone. that I had been discharging a duty as if I had been discharging a musket." He made me no answer." I walked out of the shop. I as well as poor Thomas Weir. that. though I confess I do wish very much that you would choose the right way for your own way.

therefore I had the more shame in losing it. I would endure in silence and as patiently as I could. and the battle of an empire was to be fought at daybreak. Is this consistent with the character of the stately- minded Brutus. I could not say that it was wrong to feel disappointed or even mortified. and the roar of life in his brain. gave mine a great grasp. but the whole weight of an army. trying to make up for the lack of brightness in my own fate by causing more brightness in the fate of others. dropped his head. but the fact that she had repelled or seemed to repel me. I went out of the shop once more. and said never a word. Between the silence of death in his mind. And thus I found that self was at the root of the wrong I had done to one over whose mental condition. as far as I knew. I had borne all my uneasiness about Miss Oldcastle without. who said he did not know that Brutus could have been so angry. But by the time I had finished he saw what I meant. 230 . after hearing of the sudden death of his wife. not comprehending me. and spoken to her. for the sight of her was a blessing I had not in the least expected. but in a greatly altered mood. with its distracting cares and conflicting interests. Were great sorrows less hurtful to the temper than small disappointments? Yes. For the loss of his wife alone would have made him only less irritable. that had worked upon me. made them suffer because of his own inward pain. It was not the mere disappointment of having no more talk with her. pressed upon him. he became irritable. transgressing in this fashion till this very morning. I ought to have been as tender as a mother over her wounded child. so that he could not be alone with his grief. his countenance altered and looked as if the evil spirit were about to depart from him. I tried to find out how it was that I had that morning failed so signally. as losing his temper with Cassius to a degree that bewildered the latter. but something was wrong when one whose especial business it was to serve his people in the name of Him who was full of grace and truth. I found that till this morning I had experienced no personal mortification with respect to Miss Oldcastle. especially while I was telling him the unwelcome truth. He did not take my hand at first. he supposed that I was backing up what I had said last with more of the same sort. I would at least keep on trying to do my work. but stared at me as if. surely. or with the dignity of sorrow? It is. went on with his work. and left her with a pain in my heart? What if that face of hers was doomed ever to bring with it such a pain--to be ever to me no more than a lovely vision radiating grief? If so. Had I actually seen her that morning. But Shakespeare represents Brutus. Looking yet deeper into it. No sooner had I settled this in my mind than my trouble returned with a sudden pang. I had little virtue in keeping my temper. On the way home. he held out his hand. because it was naturally very even.

and I hope I smiled in his. And a sense of heart-security. so I seemed to be holding by God's hand. even as one from the firm rock may look abroad upon the vexed sea. Edelweiss. and a half-holiday. I think some parsons must neglect seeing after this matter on principle. and so receiving Him. And I thought I then knew something of what the apostle meant when he said. So I went early into the church. because warmth may make a weary creature go to sleep here and there about the place: as if any healing doctrine could enter the soul while it is on the rack of the frost. He made them all sit down on the grass. hand in hand. I was very particular in having the church well warmed before Sunday. and was otherwise ill prepared for the Sunday.--Surely He will take care of my heart as well as of my mind and my conscience. When our Lord was feeding even their bodies. as well as soul- safety. "Noble-white"--as they call a plant growing under the snow on some of the Alps--could not survive the winter in such churches. I sat down by my own fire in the vestry. I looked down. I found myself in the midst of the children coming out of school. one of the reasons why some churches are of all places the least likely for anything good to be found in. and now-a-days very rare. The clergy should see-- for it is their business--that their people have no occasion to think of their bodies at all while they are in church. looking out quietly upon my own troubled emotions as upon something outside of me-- apart from me. but I could not help thinking of the words of our Lord about receiving a child in His name. and so. I think it was the faith of the boy in me that comforted me. For one blessed moment I seemed to be at the very centre of things." I knew that there was a deeper self than that which was thus troubled. He smiled in my face. awoke in me. and there was Gerard Weir looking up in my face. As the little child held by my hand. That moment I felt a little hand poke itself into mine. But I cannot convey to my reader any notion of the quietness that entered my heart with the grasp of that childish hand. that they are as wretchedly cold to the body as they are to the soul--too cold every way for anything to grow in them. And the clergyman. They have enough ado to think of the truth. 231 . I had not had my usual ramble this morning. who is the steward. If I may judge from experiences of my own. but finding that the sexton's wife had not yet finished lighting the stove. and I said to myself. It is for him to give his Master's friends a welcome to his Master's house--for the welcome of a servant is precious. perhaps. it was chosen by Him for their comfort in feeding their souls and bodies both. we went on to the vicarage. is. There is small welcome in a cold house. for it was Saturday. "Your life is hid with Christ in God. Suppose I am sitting there now while I say one word for our congregations in winter. where I gave him up to my sister. By the time we reached the vicarage my heart was very quiet. It is worth noticing that there was much grass in the place--a rare thing I should think in those countries-- and therefore. should look to it.

come thou in. voices hover clear. but actually felt gently-mournful that the wonderful old thing never had and never could have a conscious life of its own. but sat in one of the pews and listened. Never mind. She has not done yet. But he need not be afraid of another such as I have already given him. that it would even of its own superabundance quicken into blessed consciousness the inanimate objects around it. And now Mrs Stone must have finished." he heard "wings flutter. it had feeling enough to grow hungry for a psalm before the end of the week. and my guess was right. and I guessed then.--How could it be? I know now. and knew that I was alone in the ancient pile. were their faculties moved from within themselves instead of from the will and operation of humanity. and my reader must be content to guess too. The child should find a nearer place. No. That she might have a man to love. having gathered a soul of its own out of the generations that have worshipped here for so long. And herewith I impart it to my reader. Then I heard the steps of the sexton's wife vanish from the church. And there I made my sermon for the next morning. when. it began to sigh out the Agnus Dei of Mozart's twelfth mass upon the air of the still church. I lingered on long in the dark church. So strangely does the passion--which I had not invented. till the old organ sobbed itself into silence. as my reader knows I had done often before. Like childhood seated on the floor. does it radiate life. loving shy. Nor did I move from the seat I had first taken till I left the sacred building. I took no step to verify my conjecture. which lay swept and garnished for the Sunday. 232 . and I was sorry. Had I the grace to win the grace Of maiden living all above. full to overflowing of its own vitality.--How full of meaning the vaulted roof looks! as if. heard her lock the door. And teach me resting on my heart. As if it had been brooding over it all the week in the wonderful convolutions of its wooden brain. whoever thou art that thinkest love and a church do not well harmonize--so strangely. its concentrated essence of sermon--these four verses: Had I the grace to win the grace Of some old man complete in lore. Thy grace divine is all and more. for I felt that I was upon my honour. My soul would trample down the base. A grace I have no grace to win Knocks now at my half-open door: Ah. Some such half-foolish fancy was now passing through my tranquillized mind or rather heart--for the mind would have rejected it at once--when to my--what shall I call it?--not amazement. I say. after the "rolling organ-harmony. not that the dear organ was dead for the night. and felt like Sir Galahad. My face would worship at his face. Had I the grace to win the grace Of childhood. thinking what they would feel had they a consciousness correspondent to their form. reader. for the delight was too strong for amazement--the old organ woke up and began to think aloud. Lord of glory. I go into the old church which looks as if it were quietly waiting for its people." In a moment the mood changed. with the twilight growing thick about me. apart. for I impart it only in its original germ.

and He had made them in us because they were in Him first. even if He did all He could to explain them to us. tendernesses. That they had come out of His heart. was in Him. for there is a love that passeth the love of woman. but understand. 233 . the Best. I told my people that God had created all our worships. Therefore. That in Him was all the wise teaching of the best man ever known in the world and more. That otherwise He would not have cared to make them. That all that we could imagine of the wise. the beautiful. though David said so: but the love of God to the men and women whom He has made. we must be all God's. the lovely. all our honours. all the grace and gentleness and truth of the best child and more. to make us understand them. and all our aspirations. loves. all our worships. not the love of Jonathan to David. This was what I made for myself. only infinitely more of them than we could not merely imagine. must centre in Him. all our loves. reverences. all the tenderness and devotion of the truest type of womankind and more.

it was not foggy. In such moods a man might almost be persuaded that it was ridiculous to expect any such poetic absurdity as the summer. I had driven Catherine Weir to the verge of suicide. it was not rainy. with its diamond mornings and its opal evenings. it was not sunshiny. I seemed to myself to have done no good. seemed millions of miles away. she never would come nearer: it was absurd to expect it." 234 . I could not dream of having made him any better. I should not in the least have cared to tell what sort the day was. Nobody would care. The summer MIGHT come back." I said. Thomas Weir. It was such a day as it seems impossible to describe except in negatives. The summer was thousands of miles off on the other side of the globe. and when I glanced at my present relations in Marshmallows. if another man took my place from next Sunday forward. "Nobody. up at the old house there across the river. The whole of life seemed faint and foggy. my external mood. her playing the Agnus Dei on Saturday afternoon. CHAPTER XXIV . And so I went on brooding over all the disappointing portions of my labour. as far as my teaching goes. AN ANGEL UNAWARES. or perhaps was afraid lest she should be accountable for any failure I might make in my Sunday duties. it passes itself off for common sense. but Old Rogers was just as good before I found him. "but Old Rogers understands me. it was not frosty. The smallest pleasure would break through the conditions that merely came of such a day. nay. but it could never go much further. Feeling rather more than the usual reaction so well-known to clergymen after the concentrated duties of the Sunday. and thought she had gone too far and been unkind. even if she intended that I should hear it. It was not the day that made me such as itself. instead of God and the work that lay for me to do in the days to come. True there was Old Rogers. ever to come again. namely. it was nothing but cloudy and quiet and cold and generally ungenial. while at the same time I could not restrain her from the contemplation of some dire revenge. it was not clear. I had lost the man upon whom I had most reckoned as a seal of my ministry. In fact. I could not help finding several circumstances to give some appearance of justice to this appearance of things. all the time thinking about myself. Ethelwyn. For in such moods stupidity constantly arrogates to itself the qualities and claims of insight. The weather could always easily influence the surface of my mind. It was not stormy. But this morning my whole mind and heart seemed like the day. making the most dreary ever appear the most reasonable. with just a puff of wind now and then to give an assertion to its ungeniality. had it not been an exact representation of my own mind. and therefore felt bound to do something to restore my equanimity. it was not snowy. to think that it ever had had any existence except in the fancies of the human heart--one of its castles in the air. with no red in it anywhere. I resolved on Monday to have the long country walk I had been disappointed of on the Saturday previous. could only indicate at most that she knew how she had behaved to me in the morning. And for Miss Oldcastle.

" "But how did you know where to find me?" "I saw you come this way. sir. sir. I told master I wanted to leave for an hour or so. as they themselves would fill the pores of a million-caverned sponge! But I could not even recall the past summer as beautiful. irregular as the headstones in an ancient churchyard. The walk along the side was tolerably dry. But when I came to the bridge I wanted to cross--a wooden one--I found that the approach to it had been partly undermined and carried away. He never went by me like that afore. And here I was IN it now. though without consciously intending to do so. unable to understand it. Scarcely had I done so. It was Old Rogers. sir. I came to find you. sir. I knowed parson must be a goodish bit in his own in'ards afore he would do that. So says I to myself. And I hope you're noways offended with the liberty of me. Miss is well. I could not mistake him at any distance. sir. sir. I felt both ashamed and comforted when I recognized him. You passed me right on the bridge. I hope there's nothing gone main wrong. with the sentinel pollards looking at themselves in its gloomy mirror. How different. I seemed to care for nothing. I could therefore get no farther in my gloomy walk. was the river from the time when a whole fleet of shining white lilies lay anchored among their own broad green leaves upon its clear waters. the dreariest path to be found. "That you did." I said.' So I went home and told master. when I saw a man coming hastily towards me from far upon the straight line of the river walk. I hope?" 235 . This won't do. I only wanted to have a little chat with you. Choosing. although the river was bank-full. now they looked like the burnt-out cases of the summer's fireworks. and so turned back upon my steps. I wandered up the side of the slow black river. just as I was looking at myself in the mirror of my circumstances." "I don't want to go no farther now. sir. sir. too. Old Rogers. trying to speak cheerfully. and didn't see me. I hope?" "Nothing as I knows on. 'Old Rogers." "I needn't tell you I didn't see you. at least. and all about the place was still very wet and swampy. He allus lets me do just as I like. The first miserable afternoon at Marshmallows looked now as if it had been the whole of my coming relation to the place seen through a reversed telescope. They leaned in all directions." "Did I really pass you on the bridge?" I said." "I could tell you that. summat's amiss wi' parson to-day." "Nothing amiss. You just go and see. and here I be. "you cannot get much farther this way--without wading a bit. In the summer they looked like explosions of green leaves at the best. "Well. filled with sunlight in every pore. Old Rogers. as soon as he came within hail. for here the river had overflowed its banks in one of the late storms.

as things went. There's a many things you mun ha' to think about that an ignorant man like me couldn't take up if you was to let 'em drop. I certainly should not. my dear fellow." "What ARE you driving at. you know. nothing's gone main wrong. Don't think I want to get aboard your ship. don't you be afeard I'm going to be troublesome. except you fling me a rope. if it was anything but this--that I want to put to the clumsy hand of a rough old tar. Still you can't help us poor folks seeing when there's summat amiss. You're not just close-hauled. Old Rogers. I thank you. No. sir. I believe." "Well. as you say. and help you to lie a point closer to the wind." And Old Rogers spoke thus:-- 236 . Old Rogers?" I said with a smile. that's all. I'm a little out of spirits. as he said. for you have a good right to speak. choose to tell it to any but one? "I don't want to say what I was driving at. sir. and we can't help havin' our own thoughts any more than the sailor's jackdaw that couldn't speak. and I will listen with all my heart. though. with a heart as soft as the pitch that makes his hand hard--to trim your sails a bit. I do believe. For why should I mind an honourable man like him knowing what oppressed me. which was none the less true that I suspected he had read some of the worst trouble of my heart. "Quite well. sir. And sometimes we may be nearer the mark than you would suppose. And being a gentleman. for God has made us all of one blood. And there's many a thing that no man can go talkin' about to any but only the Lord himself. makes the matter worse betuxt us." "Say on. Some of my running tackle got jammed a bit. I understand you.

We were becalmed in the South Seas. It drove them clean mad. and I thank you heartily. lain down on the deck to breathe my last." This is as near the story of my old friend as my limited knowledge of sea affairs allows me to report it. groaning. like the foot of a sail. I sprung to my feet. But the fog didn't keep the heat off. turning my face to it as if it had been the very breath of God. and several of the crew to their hammocks. Some of the men got hold of the spirits. Old Rogers." I said. as I thought. I kept up my heart by looking ahead inside me. "I understand you quite. Well. I made a voyage in a merchant barque. and. My head was like to burst. but could find no bottom. in a little stream that came down from the hills above. 'Land on the weather-quarter! Water in sight!' In a moment more a boat was lowered. and my tongue was like a lump of holystone in my mouth. The mate lay on a sparesail on the quarter- deck. it was wearier a deal. and in a few minutes the boat's crew. There was the blue sky overhead. 237 . were half-mad with thirst. and I saw the shine of water on the face of a rock on the shore. The short allowance grew shorter and shorter. some of them. A moment more and a light air blew on my cheek. Then a thick fog came on. And still I was sure the schooner was slowly drifting. a doin' of nothin' from day to day. and THAT didn't quench their thirst. But when the water began to come up thick from the bottom of the water-casks. when all at once the fog lifted. I cried out. it only made it worse. and we couldn't see more than a few yards ahead or on any side of us. The captain took to his berth. "Oncet upon a time. I had just. of which I was one. hoping I should die before I went quite mad with thirst. as white as snow a'most. for it was just as hot on deck as anywhere else. and the water was fast going done. and hove the lead again and again. I had to knock one of them down myself with a capstan bar. Mr Walton! that's what I wanted to say to you. clothes and all. were lying. For days and days the fog hung about us as if the air had been made o' flocks o' wool. At last I began to lose all hope. there was an island within half a mile. and the men. for he ran at the mate with his knife. and began to look bad at one another.--There. And weary work it wur. one morning. but the terrible burning sun was there. I had a strong suspicion that the schooner was drifting.

the weathercock that watched the winds over the stables at Oldcastle Hall. as quiet in the dreary day. ere it vanished again amid the general dinginess of the hour. I leaned upon the low parapet. and he close on a lee-shore wi' breakers--it wouldn't be amiss to say to him. for his wisdom mun ha' laid mostly in the tongue--right. "boast nor trust nor hope in the morrow. 'Boast not thyself of to- morrow. till we shook hands and parted upon the bridge. and there once more I saw. "King Solomon was quite right. The old man was silent for some moments: his emotion needed time to still itself again. I turned me to the right. and none the worse when the evil day does come. saying-- "Good day. I say. 238 . It had caught just one glimpse of the sun through some rent in the vapours." said the old sailor. I think it would be as good advice to a man on the other tack.' There's just as many good days as bad ones. Old Rogers went to his work." I returned." I could but hold out my hand.' but I can't help thinking there's another side to it. who is the health of thy countenance and thy God. Then I looked to the left. and flung it across to me. than they look when the sunlight that infolds them proclaims that God is not the God of the dead but of the living." resumed he. assuming the dignity of his superior years under the inspiration of the truth. sir. But. as he always was. as much fair weather as foul in the days to come. for thou shalt yet praise Him. as on that first afternoon. God forgive me! I'm talking like a heathen. Then I turned and looked down the river crawling on to the sweep it made out of sight just where Mr Brownrigg's farm began to come down to its banks. I must go back to my work. And so we walked back side by side to the village. for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. For he had spoken to me as an angel of God. He held out his hand once more. 'Don't strike your colours to the morrow. for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. and there stood my old church. would permit. I suppose. One of the great battles that we have to fight in this world--for twenty great battles have to be fought all at once and in one--is the battle with appearances. but not a word did we speak the one to the other. as in the sunshine: even the graves themselves must look yet more "solemn sad" in a wintry day like this. and looked up the stream as far as the mists creeping about the banks. and I lingered upon the bridge. Boast and trust and hope in God. though not so bright. my lad. in what he SAID. he's all the better for that. whose boasting lay far to windward. No. As if there was any chance about what the days would bring forth. "No doubt. when he said." "I will go back with you. where we had first met. and hovering in thinnest veils over the surface of the water. And if a man keeps up heart. Nor did he return to the subject. I had nothing to say.

and that particular allowances will be made for the rich because they are born into such disadvantages. for instance. as. of which attention those more immediately associated with the village. my personal attraction is towards the poor rather than the rich. and by the recollection that not only was our Lord himself poor. TWO PARISHIONERS. and there is a good stock of common sense as well. that they may inherit both the earth and the kingdom of heaven. education will turn the scale very gently with me. but He said the poor were blessed. the inhabitants of the Hall. But I have been once more wandering from my subject. Thereupon. 239 . by the reflection that they are such because God who loves them better than we do. in no one class over another. there is a reaction towards the poor.--a gift predominant. their love of spiritual dirt and meanness. has so ordered their lot. and have indeed confined my recollections entirely to the village and its immediate neighbourhood? Will my reader have patience while I explain this to him a little? First. of course. And then when I reflect that some of these poor people would have made nobler ladies and gentlemen than all but two or three I know. subserve the highest growth and emancipation of the poor. for I have known a few rich people quite as much to my mind as the best of the poor. their education would give them the advantage with me in the possibilities of communion. something like a feeling of favour because they have not had fair play--a feeling soon modified. came in for a share. I HAVE said. as he may have observed. though not altered. that my parish was a large one: how is it that I have mentioned but one of the great families in it. Thus it was that the people in the village lying close to my door attracted most of my attention at first. as far as I am aware. I can generally get nearer the poor than the rich. but I believe it because I see that it is so. But I say GENERALLY. And let me just say in passing that I not only believe it because He said it. I think sometimes that the world must have been especially created for the poor. CHAPTER XXV . I was made so. although they did not belong to the same class. near the beginning of my story. But when the heart is right. and with their wickednesses and their miseries. if they had only had the opportunity.

and as square as the straight long-backed chair upon which she sat. "Jonathan. partly because I could then do my duty better. I was shown with much ceremony by a butler. the other day. during which a hint or two were dropped which had an influence in colouring my thoughts for some time after. I should have thought we were both decidedly middle-aged. for I had enough to occupy me without. making love to a demoniacal-looking cockatoo in a gilded cage. however. Jemima. which was more amusing than dignified. and partly." I answered. though you are the elder by I will not say how many years. Mr Walton. I bought a horse. "that you had forgotten we were parishioners of yours. and this is the first use I have put him to. in a feminine bass." "That I could hardly do. I ought to have bought a horse sooner than I did. Therefore. and I did not feel bound to visit those. partly to please Dr Duncan. a little lively gray-haired creature. at a farm of his in B--shire. I did buy one. Many of them went elsewhere to church. Still there were one or two families which I would have visited oftener. however. Happening to come across a gray mare very much like her. Miss Crowther. I should not have thought this visit worth mentioning. who looked like a most ancient girl whom no power of gathering years would ever make old." 240 . "We were afraid. The other. I think it was the very day after the events recorded in my last chapter that I mounted her to pay a visit to two rich maiden ladies." she cried to the retreating servant. and had little chance of getting a hold of them to do them good. But I confess I have given you ground for your rebuke. into the presence of the two ladies. It is very good of you not to forget such uninteresting girls as we are. had I been more interested in them. Before this winter was over. one of whom sat in state reading a volume of the Spectator. living. Again. was standing upon a high chair. from having been very fond of an old mare of my father's. and extended her hand as I approached her." said the little lady." "We're charmed to see you. or had I had a horse. "seeing you are such regular attendants at church. the latter all but jumped from her perch with a merry though wavering laugh. bring the cake and wine. whose carriage stopped at the Lych-gate most Sundays when the weather was favourable. as old apparently as his livery of yellow and green." interposed her sister. I bought her at once. but whom I had called upon only once since I came to the parish. who urged me to it for the sake of my health. and advanced to meet me. without moving from her place. She was very tall. As I entered the room. when I was a boy. The former rose with a solemn stiff-backedness. I confess. A fat asthmatic poodle lay at her feet upon the hearth-rug." "You forget. the houses of most of the gentlefolk lay considerably apart from the church and from each other. after my mother's death. "that time is always on the wing. I confess. except for the conversation I had with them.

Jemima. I do not say that you are not to preach faith. He's always telling you to do something or other. really. is not faith in Christ a duty? Where you have mistaken me is. Mr Walton? I confess I do not agree with your doctrines upon that point. you see." I said. but it always seems to me--and it has given me much pain. Mr Walton. or even sees at all. when indeed I speak of faith as higher than any OTHER duty. urge a man to that which is not his duty? But tell me. but you know faith without works is dead. Hester." "I agree with Miss Hester." "And your Bible. "It is the duty of gentlemen to entertain ladies. I think you will see that he is pretty much entertained as it is. Mr Walton. I love my mother dearly: it is my duty. but still I cannot help feeling that you preach faith and not works. "I cannot think how it is. But this is not the way to entertain Mr Walton. of course. But it is so much the kinder of ladies when they surpass their duty. "Why. and I don't read anything but the newspapers. But somehow. that you think I speak of faith as higher than duty. and I've got to work it off somehow before I'm comfortable. I do not know how it may have been when you were. Only perhaps you are one of those who think a lady's opinion on such matters is worth nothing. It is the highest duty of man. but. I do not say the duty he always sees clearest. the joy of his very being. of course?'" "That sounds very plausible. I respect an opinion just as far as the lady or gentleman who holds it seems to me qualified to have formed it first." I returned." 241 . Jemima. who may be greatly injured by such a style of preaching." "I quite agree with you. Mr Walton--I hope you will not think me rude. 'Oh yes. Mr Walton. I know I always come out of the church with something on my mind. Miss Hester." "That's a matter of course. I remember rocking you in your cradle scores of times. should say." "I do not quite understand you." interposed Miss Jemima. But you have not yet told me what you think so objectionable in my preaching. I should have said that Mr Walton was constantly preaching works. or any clergyman. and condescend to entertain gentlemen. I believe. Now I think duty the first thing. Miss Crowther." "Much the same. But the fact is. I must say I think so." "On the contrary. he no more thinks or needs to think about it as a duty. I can't help feeling as if she were my elder sister. What would you think of the love of a son who. sister. that when that which is a duty becomes the highest delight of a man." "You always speak as if faith in Christ was something greater than duty. sister. when an appeal was made to his affections. "All but ten years." "Now. when I consider that your congregation is chiefly composed of the lower classes." "What can surpass duty. for my part. But if you look at Mr Walton." "The gentlemen used to entertain the ladies when I was young. She is so learned. Do yourself justice. Hester. For how can I.

-- "Her presence. with her gray hair. And here Miss Jemima got up on the chair again. Pope was the great English poet. her laugh at once girlish and cracked. but spent almost the whole of her time in reading small dingy books of eighteenth century literature. the wheezing poodle. whose eccentricities did not lie on the side of respectability. for. upon every living thing that came near her. Miss Crowther. any remnant of selfish care about herself. and had it. even to her sister's sole favourite. thought Shakespeare sentimental where he was not low. And Miss Jemima. But I have already said more about her than her place in my story justifies. she was determined to have her own way. who kept. transferring the MISS CROWTHER of primogeniture to the younger. and therefore warmly defended. Their property was not large.. but foolish. The "Essay on Man" contained the deepest wisdom. darting in and out of the cottages. had gone on shocking the stiff proprieties of her younger sister till she could be shocked no more. her light step. but only in silent signs. like a robe pontifical. the "Rape of the Lock" the most graceful imagination to be found in the language. Ne'er seen but wonder'd at. and she knew every living thing on the place down to the dogs and pigs. as far as appeared to the eyes of her neighbours at least. but it was a very lovely oddity. while in philosophy. and she now spent the love which had before been concentrated upon one object. Addison thoroughly respectable and gentlemanly. on the contrary. incomparably before Milton. The "Vicar of Wakefield" was pretty. and Bacon pompous. boxing the ears of the other little tyrant. passing this one's rent. had not only survived it. in religion. She was very odd. 242 . Somehow or other. her clear gray eye with wrinkled eyelids. respectability--in position." was the actual queen of the neighbourhood. and threatening that other with awful vengeances. She had had a severe disappointment in youth. scolding this matron with a lurking smile in every tone. and had nothing in it of that lasting youth which is the birthright--so often despised--of every immortal being. The elder scarce left the house. hugging that baby. but saved her heart alive out of it. which she had heard objected to. losing only. But I will tell a fact or two about the sisters which may possibly explain how it was that they took up such different notions of my preaching. and began to flirt with the cockatoo once more. though she was the very soul of kindness. She believed in no other. in morals. like King Henry IV. I cannot quite recall how this part of the conversation drew to a close. and gave in as to the hopelessness of fate. The consequence was that her very nature was old- fashioned. as the people always called her. in conduct--was everything. especially in his notion of happiness. it must be confessed. Paley was perfect.

What is in the Bible? Is it this or that?" "You are their spiritual instructor: tell them what is in the Bible." "But to teach is to make people understand. 'Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones. "You are too anxious to explain everything. certainly. like yourself. is where Miss Hester made the following further criticism on my pulpit labours. if you add argument to convince them of what is incorrect. and the one who was busy helping her neighbours from morning to night. and a great many who cannot understand. Mr Walton.-- 'Superior beings. Pope." "And I say the good angels could never behave like that. when of late they saw A mortal man unfold all Nature's law. and the tone has much to do with the impression made by the intellectual contents of all speech. Pope is not my Bible. that the Church consists of a few privileged to understand." "The Bible urges upon us to search and understand. who is in heaven. then. such were the two ladies who held these different opinions about my preaching. Paley. "Where can be the use of trying to make uneducated people see the grounds of everything?" she said. "It is enough that this or that is in the Bible." "I doubt that.'" 243 . Our Lord says. And show'd a Newton as we show an ape'?" "I do not know the passage." "It will be so much the worse. to do my critic the justice of remarking that what she said looks worse on paper than it sounded from her lips. If you come to that. how much can the wisest of us understand? You remember what Pope says." "I grant that for those whose business it is. and therefore need not be taught?" "I said you had to teach them." "I don't think so. but there is just the point." "He means the good angels. considering that I neglected the doctrine of works as the seal of faith." "You cannot expect them to judge of what you tell them. Falsehood will expose itself the sooner that honest argument is used to support it. for she was a gentlewoman. of course. the one who did nothing but read Messrs Addison. The next point where my recollection can take up the conversation." I pause in my recording." "Yes." "Do you call the angels inferior beings?" "Such angels.. for their angels do always behold the face of my Father. Admired such wisdom in an earthly shape. for contempt is one of the lowest spiritual conditions in which any being can place himself. finding little in my preaching." "But you have just been objecting to my mode of representing what is in the Bible." "Do you think. Although I did not know all this at the time. except incentive to benevolence. and Co. I should call such superior beings very inferior beings indeed.

" "Surely you do not jest at his bodily infirmities?" "I had forgotten them quite. But she is not a fit woman to be regarded as the clergyman's friend. "I don't care much about opinion. we thought we might have seen more of you if it had not been for her. And as very few people of her own position in society care to visit her. who had been silent during the little controversy that her sister and I had been carrying on. I am not to despise one of the little ones. "I should have very little influence with Mrs Oldcastle if I were to make the attempt. But I am not called upon to address my flock individually upon every point of character. however. I fancy. now becoming." "I will undertake to make the poorest woman in my congregation understand that." said Miss Hester. I found afterwards that there was some kindness in it." "Quite the contrary. but morally a small man. a little spiteful at hearing her favourite treated so unceremoniously. if for no other reason. well enough. "Now will you even say that you understand that passage?" "Practically. you know. She looks scared. There!" said Miss Jemima." "In every other sense he was a great man." "Why don't you try your friend Mrs Oldcastle. I thought. He was intellectually a great man. Miss Crowther?" She gently tapped her forehead with a forefinger. The fact is." "I hope not. we thought it a pity she should be your principal friend in the parish. I say he was full of despising. and therefore. "We have been quite misinformed. poor thing! And they say she's not quite--the thing." said Miss Jemima. then? It might do her a little good." said Miss Hester. "I think. if she weren't kept down by her mother." "Her daughter would be a nice girl. Pope represents the angels as despising a Newton even. I laughed. as if she had wanted to relieve her bosom of a burden. 244 ." "I am very glad to hear it." "Such refinements are not easily followed. "Possibly. and had done it. just as the poorest man of my congregation may understand it." "And you despise Pope. We are scarcely friendly." I answered." "Why do they not visit her more?" "There are strange stories about her." "I cannot allow it." said Miss Jemima. I thought it was not worth my while to enter as the champion of Miss Oldcastle's sanity. her religious opinions would correspond with your own. a small man. which it is as well to leave alone. with indifference. Mr Walton." "I thought she was an intimate friend of yours. They are getting out of date too. "What DO you mean. however.

and my mother used to say the same. that out of such a rough ungracious stem as the Oldcastle family. pale." I returned. But I don't think she looks as if she had a cap to set at anybody. You mustn't let her set her cap at you. though. 245 . I am glad she comes to our church now. I rode home slowly. It wouldn't do at all. brooding on the lovely marvel. "They are." I rose to go. "she is rather pretty. a strange family as far back as I can remember. winter-braved flower. should have sprung such a delicate. as Ethelwyn. And I prayed that I might be honoured to rescue her from the ungenial soil and atmosphere to which the machinations of her mother threatened to confine her for the rest of a suffering life. for I did not relish any further pursuit of the conversation in the same direction. She's pretty enough. and have been. Mr Walton. too!" "Yes.

but she only bowed and kept alongside of her companion. You're very different somehow from what you used to be. "Why didn't you stop to speak to us. and I felt as if the child was seeing through me. but you never looked at me. and had gone about twenty yards farther. I could just see. Judy. The Captain returned my salutation. But you'll be left behind. of approaching hoofs. "But I do not know your companion. 246 . "I pulled up. and I was not in the humour for an introduction. Only I wish I could do anything for you. when I lifted my hat to Miss Oldcastle without drawing bridle. and likewise rode on. because you cut us so. that I know of. I likewise roused my horse and went off at a hard trot. Judy was on a little white pony she used to gallop about the fields near the Hall. and went on. and pricked up his ears at the sound. but remained with my head bent. "I don't know what to make of it." She turned her pony's head as she spoke. But I see you don't want me. There's something wrong somewhere." "No fear of that. but could only say-- "Thank you. SATAN CAST OUT. So I won't ask questions. and up she came at full gallop. We shall be cross all the rest of the day. What have we done?" "Nothing. not wishing to stop or to reveal the signs of a distress which had almost overwhelmed me. which was walking slowly along the soft side of the road. But I suppose you would all tell me it's none of my business. lifted his head. The Captain was laughing and chatting gaily as they drew near. for I had been thinking hard just before." She looked hard at me with her keen gray eyes. Mr Walton. so good-bye. jumped the ditch at the side of the road. Mr Walton?" she said. My Dobbin can go much faster than their big horses. returning from my visit to the Misses Crowther. and flew after them along the grass like a swallow." I answered. now to the other. Judy. The riders soon came in sight--Miss Oldcastle. with the vain impulse so to shake off the tormenting thoughts that crowded on me like gadflies. Judy. I was within a mile of the village. I am sure I should ask you if there were anything you could do for me. and Captain Everard. CHAPTER XXVI . trying to speak cheerfully. that Miss Oldcastle's pale face was flushed even to scarlet. Being on my own side of the road I held straight on. now to the one. But this day was to be one of more trial still. as they passed me. till we were on the point of meeting. or rather as if my whole being had been deprived of vitality by a sudden exhaustion around me of the ethereal element of life. I thought I had escaped conversation. Miss Oldcastle I had never seen on horseback before." I felt the child's kindness. which he heard first. I felt as cold as death. when I heard the clatter of Judy's pony behind me. I believe I did not alter my bearing. when my horse.

and hid his face in his hands. I prevailed on the rest to go home at once. When Catherine caught sight of me. sir. in some alarm. and approached the bed. I shan't be able to leave your sister. "God forbid!" I exclaimed. but kept unconsciously stroking my horse's neck. I got off my horse. which to my annoyance I found full of the neighbours. that I saw in a moment something had happened. His eyes were fast closed. As I turned a corner. I shut the door behind me. sir. nearly overturning poor Tom in my haste. staring at the ceiling: and on her arm lay little Gerard. in driving the woman beyond the bounds of human reason and endurance? The thought was dreadful. Only don't let the people stare at me. These likewise I got rid of as soon as possible. On the hearth and in the fender lay two little pools of blood. but with her black eyes wide open. like the motion of a serpent. I found no one there. Before I reached the door. I shall be hanged. and he had no sign of life about him. as white. With a little difficulty. peeped in. down his sweet deathlike face. It was very dreadful. and staring at me "with wide blue eyes. Her lips. I don't care. "tell me what is the matter. 247 . Take me away. To my surprise. Tom?" I asked." Her lips went on moving. as I rode off. I am ready. All in the house was utterly still. It was not bolted as I had expected to find it. Tom Weir was at my side. white as death. On the bed lay the mother. and entered. I entered the shop. except where the blood had flowed from the bandage that could not confine it. "She's mad. He did not reply for a moment. "Kate has killed her little boy. almost into the street of the village. and not add to the confusions and terrors of the unhappy affair by the excitement of their presence. But I must not let my mind rest on it now. His face was so pale. "Come after me. before he could utter the words. mostly women and children. uttered the words-- "I have done it at last." I could see his bare throat knot and relax." He followed them with a stifled cry--almost a scream. Tom. He had evidently been watching for me. I opened it. "and take the mare home. lest I should be unfitted for what might have to be done. "What is the matter. with automaton-like movement. and locking the door behind them. and struck my heels in my horse's sides. went up to the room above." Had I had a share." I said. I saw a little crowd of the villagers. she's mad. but I could hear no more till suddenly she broke out-- "Oh! my baby! my baby!" and gave a cry of such agony as I hope never to hear again while I live. I confess it. As soon as they had yielded to my arguments." he cried. by my harsh words. gathered about it. she showed no surprise or emotion of any kind. I went to the only other door." "Come." I repeated. and gave him to a woman to hold till Tom should come up.

and I found it difficult even to conjecture from his countenance what thoughts were passing through his mind. and that the loss of blood was the chief cause of his condition. "You see what you have driven me to!" cried Catherine. She made no motion to rise from her bed. "Yes: I think you may. and the grandfather followed. her eyes were wandering about over the ceiling. Here was the end of it--the blood of the one shed by the hand of the other. for he had found that he had been sick. He is coming to. We went up together to Catherine's room. and the father of both. In a few minutes he said-- "I think he'll come round. I will do anything you like. The first thing I saw there was Thomas on his knees. caught them round with her arms. I thought it better. from intruding further. I will go and ask my father to forgive me. however. accompanied by Dr Duncan. wiping it up. on his knees. nor did she utter a word. Thomas said nothing to me about what had happened. which had evidently been occasioned by a fall upon the fender. then began to stare hopelessly at the ceiling again. But when I looked at her. and his daughter had been beyond the reach of his forgiveness." She THREW herself off the bed at my feet. which was the only entrance to the house." The words went to my very soul. and that they were not an illusion of my sense. even in his absence. The very sight of the child had hitherto been nauseous to him. Thomas had sped to his daughter the moment he heard the rumour of what had happened." I hastened to her room. although her lips would now and then move as if moulding a sentence. the moment I was left alone with her. I went down to see who was there. and his fierceness in clearing the shop had at least prevented the neighbours. as it happened. and remembering that I had locked it. and yielded with a moan. and cried-- "I will forgive him. who had disdained both. Dr Duncan was giving the child brandy. with a basin of water. whom. At this moment I heard a loud knocking at the shop-door. after looking at the child. Catherine. "I hope you are satisfied. she gave him one imploring look. and the doctor took the sickness as a sign that the brain had not been seriously injured by the blow. The blood flowed from a wound on the head." 248 . extending backwards from the temple. he had had some difficulty in finding. The doctor carried the child into the next room. as if she did not know the one from the other. where the blood lay both inside and out. proceeded to take him from her. When Dr Duncan. and join the others in the sitting-room. washing away the blood of his grandson from his daughter's floor. I found Thomas Weir." "Will it be safe to tell his mother so?" I asked. the father. to leave her. occasioned by the commotion of my own feelings. and I had and still have difficulty in believing that she spoke the words. Catherine looked from one to another of us. I forgive George Everard. "Your little darling is not dead.

"What do you know of this sad business. and the waters of life had flowed forth from each. a word. I went to the other room. "She wants to ask you to forgive her. Not a word was said on either side. wait till she asks you. When I rejoined Dr Duncan. a sorrow. We must wait till she is able to explain the thing herself. and that he fell upon the fender. a look. The doctor had laid him in his own crib. I beckoned to Thomas. He said his pulse was improving." "His father told me the same. where she burst into tears. till. Do you believe it?" "At least we have no evidence about it. "I should like to ask the same question of you. forgetting all its claims." I took him by the hand." I said. Little Gerard opened his eyes and closed them again. I have more than once known this in the course of my experience--the ice and snow of a long estrangement suddenly give way. I left them in each other's embrace. and lay sobbing and weeping. and that is all I know." I returned. and the boiling geyser-floods of old affection rush from the hot deeps of the heart. "all I believe is. and breathing quietly." said Dr Duncan. I think myself that the very lastingness and strength of animosity have their origin sometimes in the reality of affection: the love lasts all the while. sets it free. in God's name. it rushes irresistibly towards its ends. I found little Gerard asleep. They must have received it by report. and led him into her room. She feebly lifted her arms towards him. Thus was it with Thomas and Catherine Weir." 249 . freshly indignant at every new load heaped upon it." "Meantime. "I have more need to ask her to forgive me. "Do not. He followed me. The hard rocks had been struck with the rod. as I entered. but go and tell her that you forgive her. Mr Walton?" said the doctor. and. at last. I lifted her in my arms--how light she was!--and laid her again on the bed. a gladness. that she struck the child. That is all I know. "Young Tom told me that his sister had murdered the child." he answered. It is tolerably certain neither of those two could have been present." "I dare not say I forgive her. and had met between.

But beyond her restored love.--Then she mustn't sit up. sir. if she wants anything. To human eyes. though I never told any one before." "No. I may as well inform my reader that. It's not the first she's had neither." "Indeed. as far as Catherine could give an account of the transaction. and the tearfulness without tears haunting his eyes. and I know this little darling won't be frightened if he comes to himself. and two nurses will be wanted here. She could not remember with any clearness what had happened. sir. after the attempt at explanation which she made at my request. "only I feel as if I ought to have a share in it." 250 . In the increase of illness that followed. "We do not know who may want you. and once she started awake. crying. I left her with nobody but father. You'll attend to your daughter. with some childish request or other. And from that hour to this there has never been a coolness between us. I won't mention it. "I have murdered him again. It makes people look shy at you. and the tide of her ebbed affection flowed like the returning waters of the Solway. I more than once saw her shudder while she slept." I said. I think I must go and look after her now. and thought she was dreaming what her waking memory had forgotten. "How is it your daughter Mary is not here?" I asked. sir. but I took care to ask no more questions. "She is asleep. All she remembered was that she had been more miserable than ever in her life before. and the next thing she knew was that his blood was running in a long red finger towards her. Then it seemed as if that blood had been drawn from her own over-charged heart and brain." To return to that first evening:--When Thomas came from his daughter's room. at least. You won't mention it. Besides. and sees me beside him. as he seldom did. he looked like a man from whom the bitterness of evil had passed away. His face had that child-like expression in its paleness. "A very good arrangement. she knew what she had done." he said. you know. no. with a rainbow in the east. which reminds one of the feeling of an evening in summer between which and the sultry day preceding it has fallen the gauzy veil of a cooling shower. fervently. You and I must take it to-night. that the child had come to her. sir." said Dr Duncan. Thomas." "God bless you." said Thomas. we are both younger than you. But the smallest reminder of it evidently filled her with such a horror of self- loathing. Probably more particulars returned afterwards. "She was taken with a fit the moment she heard the bad news. though she did not know how she had done it. it seemed as if self had been utterly slain in him. this conjecture was corroborated. she remembered nothing more that happened till she lay weeping with the hope that the child would yet live. that I took care to avoid the subject entirely. that she felt herself seized with intense hatred of him.

as indeed she was. besides. I was even anxious that she should feel something of that love about her which she had so long driven from her door. He did not seem even to have headache from the blow. I left him. to taste once more the tenderness of home. And. and he fell fast asleep again. Once or twice he woke up. for. But I had no intention of going near her that night. and watched through the night. or rather. but when I laid my hand on him. although the result had been. and it was a relief to myself to endeavour to make some amends for having so spoken to her. for I thought the less she saw of me the better. I felt towards her somewhat as towards a new-born child. he smiled without waking. to get over the painful associations so long accompanying the thought of me. with the help of her renewed feelings. for whom this life of mingled weft must be made as soft as its material will admit of. 251 . and see how you are going on." As soon as Thomas returned with good news of Mary's recovery. "I will come over early in the morning then. so good. as regarded Catherine. my heart still smote me for the severity with which I had spoken the truth to her. now that she would let her fellows help her. as if she had been my own sister. I wanted her to read the love of God in the love that even I could show her. but a little jelly composed him. and have had time. The little fellow repeatedly cried out in that terror which is so often the consequence of the loss of blood. I must confess that. in God's great grace. We carried back with us what things we could think of to make the two patients as comfortable as possible. and lay quite still again for a while. and arrange for the night. till she should be a little stronger. and went home to tell my sister. So I took my place beside Gerard. and looked so bewildered that I feared delirium. returned from wandering in weary and miry ways.

But when I was left alone with the child. for even now. how my thoughts rushed upon the facts bearing on my own history which this day had brought before me! Horror it was to think of Miss Oldcastle even as only riding with the seducer of Catherine Weir. should wed defilement. you had better stay with Gerard. The next I was on my knees by the side of the sleeping child. then. Then came the consolation that if I suffered hereby. and Thomas appeared. and to think that before the summer came once more. and had repented back again in shame and sorrow. I suffered from doing my duty.-- "It chanced--eternal God that chance did guide. my only light. the bitterness of which was wicked: it flashed upon me that my own earnestness with Catherine Weir. But I must indicate one train of thought which kept passing through my mind with constant recurrence:--Was it fair to let her marry such a man in ignorance? Would she marry him if she knew what I knew of him? Could I speak against my rival?--blacken him even with the truth--the only defilement that can really cling? Could I for my own dignity do so? And was she therefore to be sacrificed in ignorance? Might not some one else do it instead of me? But if I set it agoing. was it not precisely the same thing as if I did it myself. in urging her to the duty of forgiveness. Then came another bitter thought. black. for I think she wants to speak to you alone. And that was well. he might be her husband! I will not dwell on the sufferings of that night more than is needful. sir. then I might tell her the truth which was to preserve her from marrying such a man as my rival. And I must do so. Scarcely had I seated myself again by the fire when the door of the room opened softly. "Kate is very strange. my very dream of purity and gentle truth. would bear a main part in wrapping up in secrecy that evil thing which ought not to be hid. If I could give her up fully and altogether. in my old age. words. "Perhaps." and meant nothing to my feeling--hardly even to my judgment meant anything at all. There was torture in the thought of his touching her hand. they remained "words. in the gathering despair of that black night. I cannot recall without renewing them. sir. And although every time I said it--for the same words would come over and over as in a delirious dream--I repeated yet again to myself that wonderful line of Spenser. For had she not vowed--with the same facts before her which now threatened to crush my heart into a lump of clay--to denounce the man at the very altar? Had not the revenge which I had ignorantly combated been my best ally? And for one brief. sooner than that she. and that was--with the full and solemn consciousness that it was and must be a barrier between us for ever. wicked moment I repented that I had acted as I had acted." he said. only more cowardly? There was but one way of doing it." "I will." I rose at once. But how bitter to cast away my CHANCE! as I said." yet the words never grew into spirit in me. "and wants to see you. words." 252 . seated in a chair by the fire.

and I will take no revenge. I believed him. I came to know him when I was apprenticed at Addicehead. And I feel it easier. Don't. and kissed him. When I had finished. sir. that she might see how the Lord himself thought and felt about such. man. your heavenly Father will also forgive you. I forgive him with all my heart." Then I read to her. She yielded it willingly. I took out my pocket Testament and read these words:-- "For if ye forgive men their trespasses. As soon as I entered the room. and only the suffering remained. but the fierceness was gone. for I suddenly returned to consciousness at a cry from Gerard. "but my poor daughter says there is one thing more she wanted to say to you. He promised to marry me. but standing on his feet in his crib. And I have been a bad mother. "I want to tell you all." "Thank God. Mammy! Mr Walton!" I took him in my arms. nor to enter upon the new one suggested by the confession of Catherine. from the seventh chapter of St Luke's Gospel. and its light fell on her face. I would not tell you. glittered again. I will not tell one who he is." he said. A candle stood on a chest of drawers. and took her hand. I entered her chamber. At the same moment. sir?" "Doing nicely. But it is all over now. I have never told any one yet. sir. Thomas came again into the room. and he lay as still as if he had never moved. So we sat in silence together for a while. as if resisting some one. sir. and so I left her. I believe I must have fallen asleep in my chair. I found that she was gently weeping. too. too. and laid him down again. "I do not think you need be at all uneasy about him now. "I am sorry to be so troublesome. for I could not keep from seeing his face in Gerard's. How is he. I feel it easier since I saw how wicked I could be myself. during which I felt so weary and benumbed. "You are too good. once more flushed in those two spots with the glow of the unseen fire of disease. and crying-- "Don't. that I neither cared to resume my former train of thought. I saw him yesterday. that I have not long to live. My heart feels so cool now. Her eyes. Do you think God will forgive me?" Without one word of my own. I forgive his father now with all my heart. I know you so well that I will not ask you not. His name is George Everard--Captain Everard. But I did very wrong." I returned at once. I drew a chair beside her. I told Thomas that he had better not go near her just yet. But I will tell you. and there was the child fast asleep." I replied." she said. Gerard was the name he told me to call him when I had to write to him. pushing with his hands from before him. and so I named the little darling Gerard. if I did not know that you will not tell any one. even returned the pressure of kindness which I offered to the thin trembling fingers. and resumed my place beside the boy. she said eagerly:-- 253 . and it drove me wild. the story of the woman who was a sinner and came to Jesus in Simon's house. I started up. Go away.

and my sister to take his father's. for. left her once more. though such might be kind-hearted and estimable women. and so to allow her to get gradually accustomed to her presence. and yet taking good care she should have everything she wanted. In another hour. before eight o'clock. refreshingly. but don't let him take Gerard. as it appeared. Nor was either of the patients disturbed again during the night." I assured her I would do my best to prevent any such attempt on his part. I enjoined my sister to be very gentle in her approaches to her. and pronounced both quite as well as he had expected to find them. and allowed my mind to return with fresh avidity to the contemplation of its own cares. I dismissed all anxiety about both. 254 . Martha seemed to understand me perfectly. he had sent young Tom to take my place. not showing herself for the first day more than she could help. and I left her in charge with the more confidence that I knew Dr Duncan would call several times in the course of the day. so I set out for a walk. I had equal assurance that he would attend to orders. As for Tom. Both slept. and perplexities. their place was not by such a couch as that of Catherine Weir. It was of no use trying to go to sleep. and as Gerard was very fond of him. "I forgive him--I forgive him with all my heart. that is. and fears. and making her promise to try to go to sleep. the old doctor made his welcome appearance. In the morning. to be careful even not to seem anxious to serve her. I was determined that none of the gossips of the village should go near the invalid if I could help it.

disclosed by herself. and encounter. as I had plainly seen in the watch of the preceding night. could not be at liberty to disclose the secret she confided to me. if I once told Miss Oldcastle. I reached the same chasm in which I had sought a breathing space on that night. and at the same time my deliverance. and turning into it. I should have risen that moment and gone straight to Oldcastle Hall. Had I not been withheld partly by my obligation to Catherine. revolving around the vortex of a new centre of difficulty. had great influence. Disinclined notwithstanding for any more pleasant prospect. acting along with the excitement following immediately upon a sleepless night. because I might thus keep my own chance of some favourable turn. whereas. THE MAN AND THE CHILD. the invigorating influences of which. a risk which involved infinitely more wretchedness to her than the loss of my dearest hopes to me. But my love did not long remain skulking thus behind the hedge of honour. Suddenly I woke and saw that I was unworthy of the honour of loving her. and where I had stood without knowing it upon the very verge of the precipice down which my fate was now threatening to hurl me. I was relieved I say at first. with the full sense of honourable degradation. which. had the greater claim upon my secrecy that it was made in confidence in my uncovenanted honour. I found my mind relieved by the fact that. leaving all other considerations of my office out of view. for it is one thing for a man not to marry the woman he loves. It was a fine frosty morning. partly by the feeling that I ought to wait and see what God would do. in inclining me to suspend action. overcame in a great measure the depression occasioned by the contemplation of my circumstances. that I might plunge at once into the ocean of my loss. and. sat down upon a block of sand which the frost had detached from the wall above. for that I was glad to be compelled to risk her well-being for the chance of my own happiness. And now the tumult began again in my mind. although I am certain the other higher motives had much to do in holding me back. having urged Catherine to a line of conduct which had resulted in confession. I am equally certain that this awful vision of the irrevocable fate to follow upon the deed. For that I had given her up first could never be known even to her in this world.--I was not. by this view of the matter. For. 255 . first of all. I sought the rugged common where I had so lately met Catherine Weir in the storm and darkness. At least so it seemed to me at the time. as well. CHAPTER XXVII . I must give her up for ever. would have been the revenge from which I had warned her. and quite another for a woman to marry a man she cannot ever respect.--a confession which. every misconstruction that might justly be devised of my conduct. I could only save her by encountering and enduring and cherishing her scorn.

But I did not tell him what she had said confirmatory of our conclusions. I have not heard since. with the captain upon his own. caught a glimpse of me. I was still sitting in the hollow. however." And thereupon I told him what both his master and I thought about it. How's poor Miss Weir to-day. as soon as the study door was closed behind us. I could not sit any longer. He did not see me. sir. I greeted him. turning the thing over in my old head. How grateful I felt to Mr Stoddart! And the hope arose in me that he had accompanied them at Miss Oldcastle's request. The sounds drew nearer. I wanted to have a little talk with you. sir. and Mr Stoddart upon her horse. and could see a space of it sufficient to show the persons even of rapid riders." "Thank you. That's between ourselves. I was only a few yards from the road upon which the sand-cleft opened. she was out of her mind for the moment. sir?" "She was rather better. you know. therefore. but we met at the door. I left my sister with her." he said. than she had been through the night. I greatly doubt if she will ever get up again. Up they came and swept past--Miss Oldcastle upon Judy's pony. I could distinguish the step of a pony and the steps of two horses besides. I had had no fear of being seen. old Mr Brownrigg not having yet consented to any day his son wished to fix. and even in the moment ere she vanished I fancied I saw the lily-white grow rosy-red. I rose and walked home--much quieter in heart and mind than when I set out. sir. But it must have been fancy. There's my daughter been a-telling of me--" I was instantly breathless attention. for she could hardly have been quite pale upon horseback on such a keen morning. One of the three. Come in. sitting as I was on the side from which they came. when I left her this morning. I saw Old Rogers enter by the farther. and that she was.--You don't believe what they say--that she tried to kill the poor little fellow?" he asked. when I heard the sound of horses' hoofs in the distance.-- I must here mention that she and Richard were not yet married. though I would not have listened to Jane herself. But there's dreadful things done in the world. "to meet yer reverence just coming home. still in her place of attendance upon Miss Oldcastle. As I entered by the nearer gate of the vicarage. "If she did. 256 . "That's just what I came to myself. and felt a foreboding of what would appear. "I'm in luck. What he chose to tell me I felt at liberty to hear. As soon as I ceased to hear the sound of their progress. But I don't believe it.

His own way was everything. sir. even if a useless something. But I am in more difficulty with regard to what you suggest than I can easily explain to you. do she. Evidently he thought I might interfere if I pleased." Partly to hide my emotion. resisting. if that service was to separate us. sir?--wanting to make her marry a man of her choosing. for he never dined with the family." The old man was silent. I could not help suspecting the mode in which he judged I might interfere. He's too like a fair-spoken captain I sailed with once. I could see what he was thinking. I was sure to find him alone." returned the old man solemnly. just to do something. I CAN'T interfere. Were I to dare to speak. "I can almost guess what you mean. rose at once. I may hear something from him to suggest a mode of action. sir. I had not a plain path to follow. and anybody has a right to do summat to perwent it." "I don't know what can be done. "The poor young lady keeps up as well as she can before her mother. I was in the storm again. what was the hardest man I ever sailed with. 257 . if anything could be done." "I don't think you'll get anything worth while from Mr Stoddart. don't you think. more gladly far than live. and I standing aloof! But what could I do? She had repelled me--she would repel me. but Jane do say there's a power o' crying done in her own room. "that the old lady up at the Hall there is tormenting the life out of that daughter of hers--she don't look much like hers. if it please God. But what to do I could not see. however. though. I saw him go past o' horseback with her yesterday. But I could see no likelihood before me but that of confusion and precipitation." "That's all I can think of at present. "Old Rogers. partly with the sudden resolve to do something." I said." said Rogers. I said:-- "I will call on Mr Stoddart this evening. Possibly his daughter had told him something more than he chose to communicate to me. She had said that the day might come when she would ask help from me: she had made no movement towards the request. He'll be this man's man and that man's man both at oncet. Still. He takes things a deal too easy like. the separation would be final. She suffering. even after he saw it wouldn't do. In a word." I said. "--There's been my daughter a-telling of me. I beg your pardon. whereupon the man-of-war's man. Rogers. that I will turn the whole matter over in my mind. and so be refused. and I might possibly catch a glimpse of Miss Oldcastle. I would gladly die to serve her--yea. and I didn't more than half like the looks on him. Now. somebody or other ought to interfere? It's as bad as murder that. I need not tell you. But HE won't help us. and took a kindly leave." "The prey ought to be taken from the lion somehow. I would go and see Mr Stoddart that evening. with true breeding.

"I am glad you have taken to horseback. and I passed on to Mr Stoddart's room. as he always did. that I might safely leave them to the care of Mary. but I did not care for them. He received me kindly. I heard the sound of her dress following us.--Arcturus and his host. How much sustaining. as I was far from feeling. Soon." I said. however. "I am not so fond of riding as I used to be. Miss Oldcastle and Judy another. and Miss Oldcastle came half out. She would have me go with her. yea. I was quite sorry to take him from her. is very nearly a pure Arab. notwithstanding great feverishness. Mrs Oldcastle and he form one party in the house. following the "white wolf" to Mr Stoddart's room. So there was something off my mind for the present. but gladly would I have walked on for ever in hope. Light as was her step. "It gives me hope that you will be my companion sometimes when I make a round of my parish. I was passing across the hall. I did not dare to look round. I felt like one under a spell. the sea of human thought and trouble. I should like you to see some of our people. with that silken vortex of sound following me. I think I have lost much firmness since I was ill. however. He belongs to Captain Everard. "Does Captain Everard make a long stay?" "He stays from day to day." I thus tried to seem at ease. and all those worlds that shine out when ours is dark. I got from that region "Where all men's prayers to Thee raised Return possessed of what they pray Thee. I wish he would go. and each is trying to gain me over. She had turned aside in some other direction. when the drawing-room door opened. It was not a time favourable to the analysis of feeling--still less of religious feeling. Orion. but it was her own doing. but his smile flickered uneasily. You would find more in them to interest you than perhaps you would expect. although no conscious comforting. the Pleiades." "If the loss of firmness means the increase of kindness. That horse you must have seen me on the other day. and yet pleased to see me." I answered. it ceased. I do not think you will have to lament it. for dread of seeing her turn away from me. I don't want to belong to either. though very weak. I tried with feeble effort to lift my eyes to Him who is above the stars. The heavens were glorious with stars. but seeing me drew back instantly. But somehow things did seem a little more endurable before I reached the house. "Did you like the Arab horses in India?" "Yes." returned Mr Stoddart. who had quite recovered from her attack. and his mother so quiet. and carries Miss Oldcastle beautifully. If they would only let me alone!" 258 . I found little Gerard so much better. every footfall seemed to be upon my heart." I cannot tell. or in an endless dream. and yet holds the sea. and her brother Tom. Let them shine: they could not shine into me. He seemed in some trouble. in the hollow of His hand. after I got used to their careless ways. A moment after. I don't know what to do.

not giving his real judgment." I said. to persuade her to behave differently to Captain Everard. "What will be the result. if she had had no teaching but what he gave her. her mind would have been merely "an unweeded garden that grows to seed. and Ethelwyn. "And you. not even interfere to prevent her from being pushed into the wrong one. Really he was a worse man than I had thought him." "Perhaps she does not like him?" I forced myself to say. ought to help her to do what is right." And now he complained that in return for his pains she would not submit to the degradation of marrying a man she did not love. But for all that regarded the dignity of her humanity and her womanhood. taught her Hindostanee. or down to paying a bill. and he had roused in her some taste for the writings of the Mystics. up to marrying. one must not look to be repaid for anything one does for others. in order to leave him in the enjoyment of his own lazy and cowardly peace. he had given her some insight into the principles of mechanics." And what had this man done for her. not exactly urge her. or she would not be so troublesome. It is an acknowledged arrangement. for his own amusement. "I can't tell. After all I have done for her! Well. I don't want to make enemies. so I went against my will. I am sure I don't see why she should stand out. The old lady has set her heart on their marriage. Mr Stoddart?" "Mrs Oldcastle wants me to use my influence with Ethelwyn. And yet society does not object to it." 259 . She did not even press it. I used to be very fond of her: I am getting quite tired of her miserable looks. Clearly he would not help to keep her in the right path. Sooner or later she will have to give in to her mother. do you suppose?" I asked. "What do they want of you." "Well. and I might be censuring him too hardly. common enough." "She must do what she thinks right. But perhaps he was only expressing his own discomfort." "Society is scarcely an interpreter of the divine will. You surely would not urge her to marry a man she did not love. but nothing more. Mr Stoddart. There is a God's-way of doing everything in the world. no. she is so much afraid of her mother. Then Judy is always begging me to stand up for her aunt. But she could arrange all that if she were inclined to be agreeable to her friends. Everybody does. and I could not bear that. How am I to know what she wants?" "I thought you said just now she asked you to ride with her?" "So she did. yet keeps him somehow at arm's length. so long as the doer has money sufficient to clothe them in a grace not their own. though she dares not break with him. Society will honour vile things enough. It's all Judy's doing. only the tears came in her eyes when I refused. She might as well yield with a good grace. she never says a word to me about it herself. But what's the use of my standing up for her if she won't stand up for herself. then? He had. "Oh! I suppose not. He's a very good match in point of property and family too.

" 260 . For at the same moment appeared at the farther end of the passage towards which I had been advancing. "Dear Mr Walton----" she said. In the face of her courage and uprightness. except by such righteous indignation as carried Judy beyond the strict bounds of good breeding. "Sarah. which moved me strangely in contrast with the pusillanimity I had so lately witnessed in Mr Stoddart. the fault was so insignificant that it would have been giving it an altogether undue importance to allude to it at all. Judy. I know what you would say. "Yes. Glad should I be to think that the even tenor of my children's good manners could never be interrupted. If the mothers among my readers are shocked at the want of decorum in my friend Judy. Do you think." she said. my child. I am going to be afraid of you? I know you better than you think. It was from Judy's hand. a figure of which little more than a white face was visible. and with an almost martial stride the little creature walked up to the speaker. that valuable as propriety of demeanour is. Now do tell me what you think. "Miss Judy. When I joined her she put her hand in mine. and stopped. where there stood a lamp. going out like that. I could see them quite well in the fuller light at the end of the passage. and the voice of Sarah. Besides. I followed slowly that I might not interrupt the child's behaviour. and stood before her defiantly. I started at a light touch on my arm. you BAD woman. "You will take cold. I would just say." She stamped her little foot. "you know you are telling a lie Grannie does NOT want me. I will not urge any opinion of mine. As I walked through one of the long passages. leading from Mr Stoddart's apartment to the great staircase. said. and I suppose you are right. your grandmamma wants you. and so walked with me down the stair and out at the front door." she answered. yes. we shall have a little respite soon. and grannie keeps insisting on it that she shall have him whether she likes him or not." It was some relief to hear this. and the "white wolf" turned and walked away without a word. or I will make you. Nor could I find it in my heart to rebuke her wherein she had been wrong. "But I have no time to talk about that creeping creature. Go away directly." Judy took her hand from my arm. You have NOT been in the dining-room since I left it one moment ago." I said. but dimly lighted. through whose softness always ran a harsh thread that made it unmistakable. for he must join his regiment in a day or two. and presently took my leave. "I am in too great a passion to take cold. truth of conduct is infinitely more precious.--Auntie DOESN'T like Captain Everard. But I could not with equanimity prosecute a conversation having Miss Oldcastle for the subject of it." "I do not quite understand you. and might weaken her confidence in my sympathy with her rectitude.

So I am asking you whether a lady ought to marry a gentleman she does not like. Thank you. you know. I know. "If we had faith in God. but would walk abroad in Him. "I know auntie would like to know what you think. and I walked away down the avenue. to please her mother. I will take care. I saw and felt the stars now." "Certainly not." "Thank you. Mr Walton. and at best a mistake." And with a light step and a light heart I went home. I should not like her to think I had been interfering. for hope had come again in my heart." "Mind you tell her you asked me. as our Lord tells us. our hearts would share in His greatness and peace. yes. and I thanked the God of hope. He's going to-morrow. Good night. But I know she will never ask you herself. For we should not then be shut up in ourselves. I will tell her. It is often wicked. "Our minds are small because they are faithless." She bounded into the house again." "Yes." I said to myself. 261 . Judy. Judy. I know quite well. She will be glad to hear that you say so.

who had an attack of pleurisy. they at least would see well that there was no fear for the former. and feeling and acting kindly. Such a man is rare and precious. and breathing hard. appearing kind. OLD MRS TOMKINS. I say. 262 . What holes and cracks there were about the door. like a castle well appointed with arms and engines against the inroads of winter and his yet colder ally Death. for he was not. The two Thomas Weirs had been at work upon it for a whole day and a half in the first of the cold weather this winter. and to gain comfort from my mere presence." I could never see Mr Boulderstone a mile off. I went from his chamber to the cottage of the Tomkinses. CHAPTER XXVIII . comfortable. and here she was now. and much sickness followed. lying in bed. through which the fierce wind rushed at once into the room to attack the aged feet and hands and throats! There were no defences of threefold draperies. lying open and bare to the enemy. I could not help regarding him as a child of heaven. though he had that influence. were he as stupid as the Welsh giant in "Jack the Giant-Killer. not because he was what is called interesting. Poor old Tomkins sat shivering over the little fire. but simply because he was true. But I could not help feeling keenly the contrast when I went from his warm. that seemed to despair of making anything of it against the huge cold that beleaguered and invaded the place. True. and an old knife.--only a small rug which my sister had carried them laid down before a weak-eyed little fire. who can so ill keep out the cold. not because he was well-read. in which every appliance that could alleviate suffering or aid recovery was at hand. did what he said. and although Mrs Tomkins had fought the cold well with what rags she could spare. we had had the little cottage patched up. to watch the gradual and tardy awakening of the intellect in one in whom the heart and the conscience had been awake from the first. I had grown quite attached to Mr Boulderstone by this time. Yet some of my well-to-do parishioners were laid up likewise--amongst others Mr Boulderstone. Intelligence is a consequence of love. to be treated with the more reverence that he had the less aid to his goodness from his slow understanding. Very severe weather came. and no soft carpet on the brick floor. The latter safe. It seemed to me that the angels might gather with reverence around such a man. like the sore-pressed garrison which had retreated to its last defence. chiefly amongst the poorer people. but my heart felt the warmer for the sight. but it was like putting the new cloth on the old garment. for he was not. not because he was clever. the keep of the castle. as it were. felt what he professed. for he was not. for fresh places had broken out. yet such razor-edged winds are hard to keep out. Even in his great pain he seemed to forget himself as he received me. not because he was possessed of influence in the parish. he was what he appeared. nor is there any true intelligence without it. and found it.--when. well-defended chamber.

sir. I know that. Blankets won't do me no good." "Indeed. though to be sure it be hard to get the breath into my body." I said. sir. sir." I said. I went to her. sir. sir. sir." "But I say that is all a mistake. "Why don't you burn your coals in weather like this? Where do you keep them?" It made my heart ache to see the little heap in a box hardly bigger than the chest of tea my sister brought from London with her. everybody dies. wi' me. "I am sorry to see you suffering so much." "Well. sir." he said." I answered. YOU won't die. I now saw at a glance that Tomkins was right. sir. Mrs Tomkins. "I don't suffer so wery much. Mr Walton! you ARE wasteful. Mrs Tomkins?" "That I do. And I do feel cold-like. Keep yourself warm. you know. as I caught up a broken shovel that would have let a lump as big as one's fist through a hole in the middle of it." "But. It's only till the resurrection. but you will be awake. "And He'll send you a little more this evening. She's going. I had seen her several times within the last few weeks. man. sir. Mrs Tomkins." "But it's not the will of God. you know. He says that whosoever liveth and believeth in Him shall never die. I MUST die. I threw half of it on the fire at once. Your body will die. and I'll send you down another blanket." "Ain't it. but had observed nothing to make me consider her seriously ill. a great deal. and be laid in the churchyard. more alive than you are now. alive. though I oughtn't to mind it when it's the will o' God. "Come." "I'm going home directly." "It's not weather-cold. Tomkins! this won't do. and be laid away out of sight. The Lord never sent His good coals to be used that way. sir. It's much colder to-day than it was yesterday. sir? Sure I thought it was. sir. She had not long to live. And that's what I don't like. I can't get it out of my head how perishing cold I shall be when I'm under the mould. with all my heart and soul." 263 . sir. after I get home. And I'm like to know it worse afore long. This world's cold in winter. "Deary me." "You believe in Jesus Christ. don't you. pointing over his shoulder with his thumb towards the bed where his wife lay. It's grave-cold. sir." "He did though. come. Tomkins.

or a touch. I ha' got used to this old bed here. He has such a deal to look after! And I don't see how He can think of everybody. a divine friend. if I had a hold ov you i' the one hand. any moment." "You would need to be as wise as He is before you could see how He does it. think that a friend who is more than man. who knows all your fears and pains. The consequence is. sir?" "Indeed I do. If it is some comfort to have hold of a human friend. They ought to be taught that they have bodies. I think it is as hard for Him to forget anything as it is for us to remember everything. sir. sir. Mrs Tomkins. I don't know anything about where you will be. Think how nonsensical it would be to suppose that one who could make everything. It would be unreasonable to think that He must forget because you couldn't understand how He could remember. "Do you really think so. and He is all strength and all perfection. and my man there. when they are told that their souls go to heaven. sir. like. that we talk as if we POSSESSED souls. the Lord bless him. like. and from our not being finished yet. keep them from going one hair's-breadth too far. just because we need it. day or night. For what a man HAS cannot be himself. though you mayn't feel His hands." "I think. He never forgets anything?" 264 . Then they will not think. and I'll be with you directly. And here let me interrupt the conversation to remark upon the great mistake of teaching children that they have souls. It is making altogether too much of the body. sir. But you will be with God--in your Father's house. at every minute. And that is enough. But I wish you was to be there by the bedside of me when I was a-dyin'. you know. as old Mrs Tomkins did. He loves us up to all out need. and He is all love to give. for forgetting comes of weakness. I don't mean that He will let anything go wrong. Hence. surely. and that their bodies die." "Then you think. and can just with a word. shouldn't be able to help forgetting. and keep the whole going as He does. that THEY will be laid in the grave. has a hold of you. is it not?" "Yes. while they themselves live on. instead of BEING souls. or a look into your soul. We should teach our children to think no more of their bodies when dead than they do of their hair when it is cut off. It don't come nat'ral to me. cold as it has been--many's the night--wi' my good man there by the side of me. But you must believe more than you can understand." "I'll come the minute you send for me--just to keep you in mind that a better friend than I am is holding you all the time. they think of their SELVES as lying in the grave. i' the other. I could go comfortable. I can't help bein' summat skeered at it." "Send for me. that they think of their souls as of something which is not themselves. It is only common sense to do so. that I wouldn't be troublesome. and sees how natural they are. or of their old clothes when they have done with them. like. and is indicative of an evil tendency to materialism." "But I can't help thinking. But He might forget an old body like me for a minute.

there was an old draw-well." "I would rather confess to Him than to the best friend I ever had. And my heart was as full o' love to them. 'But. and what the Lord can think of me. and was walkin' across the court the way to the draw-well." 265 . till their cryin' sticks to your brain. the parson had been preachin' about 'Suffer little children. when all at once a man come up to me and held out his two hands. He can't know all about it. sir.' And in a little while there come a blast o' noise like from somewheres. if ye 'll excuse me. and there was a lid to it. sir. lass. The Sunday afore that. and they stopped their cryin'. "I am so sure that He will make every excuse for me that ought to be made. I wished 'em dead? Just to get the wailin' of them out o' my head.' And I was in a terrible fear. because you don't know all yourself. 'That's the ston'. and one laid its head on one shoulder of him. But I let her go on. but I fell asleep wi' nothin' else in my head but the cries o' the infants and the sound o' the ston' in the draw-well. And I took my twins to me. And I gave him first one and then the t'other. he put a stone in. 'Tomkins. Mrs Tomkins. I'm ashamed to confess it even to you. and he took them. through which you could put a good big stone." "Mothers are often a little out of their minds at such times. And they hardly cried worth mentionin' again. and ye hear 'em when they're fast asleep. sir. and my breasts was full. cryin' dreadful. And you can't tell him all. 'to come unto me. He does. "it was o' twins. And I dreamed that I had one o' them under each arm. and. 'Gie me my childer." "But I would like to tell YOU. She paused for one moment only. Tomkins?' I said. where my Tomkins worked on the home-farm. And so were you." she said. And Tomkins once took me to it. and told me to hearken. sir. And oh! sir.' And I turned sick at the thought of it.' says he. 'a strikin' on the water down that there well. thinking so to help her the better. without tellin' me what it was.' I suppose that was what put it in my head. one on each side o' you. And I think that He took them. But I must tell you another thing. with a hole in it. sir. and said. sir. But afore they was two year old. sir. I didn't know why. and t'other upon t'other. As I said to my man after I got my head up a bit. I knew by the trouble that gathered on the old woman's brow what kind of thought was passing through her mind.' you know. 'What's that. they both died o' the brown chytis. I don't know. and then resumed--much interrupted by the shortness of her breathing." I said. and you next to nothin' to give 'em. but I heard nothing. It wasn't used.' says he. 'you don't know what it is to have TWO on 'em cryin' and cryin'.--as I told him so. Would you believe it. and I saw him no more. sir. And a friend can't always do that. And then I awoke cryin'." "I don't know.' says I. In the courtyard o' the squire's house. 'hearken. And it's down there that I wished the darlin's that God had sent me. I wished 'em dead. for there they'd be quiet. And I hearkened. "When I was brought to bed first. and fell fast asleep. and away he walked wi' them into the dark. it was VERY hard.' Well.

--They say old age is a second childhood. I could not bear Him to think of me and my sins both at once. sir." he said." The old woman lay quiet after this. The bitter weather was telling chiefly upon the aged. knowing that the old man's gently humorous sayings always meant something. sir." "They ARE good words. as he used to be when he was a child: I never thought it meant that a man felt like a child again. I begin to feel as if I was a child again. then He can forget it. I've got my stick. once we are clean from them altogether. could any one want more?" "It's very strange. pointing to a thorn stick which lay beside him. and then call upon Dr Duncan. 'twere best not know myself. So I have both my son on earth and my Father in heaven. lest he should not know that his patient was so much worse as I had found her. I've only got to knock on the floor. And then again. "He did take them." "But. And I think that is what He does with our sins--that is. And if He pleases to forget anything. though not in body. after He has got them away from us. I used to think that meant only that a man was helpless and silly again. and up comes my son out of the shop. my Father opens it and looks out. "To know my deed. and I hastened home to send some coals and other things. as light-hearted and untroubled as I do now. He greeted me with a withered smile. I think He can do what He pleases. by the communication she had made with so much difficulty. "Are you not lonely. when I want anything. Mr Weir?" "No. sweet and true. "but as I lie here. I don't know as ever I was less lonely. "You see. and you'll see them again soon. and left them sticking fast to us and defiling us." the old man resumed after a pause. under the old embroidery. although no flash of white teeth broke forth to light up the welcome of the aged head. and it is almost dark. How then should we ever be made clean?--What else does the prophet Isaiah mean when he says. for my sister will never do it again. It is as if He said--'I will not think of that any more. I found him in bed. but before I grew so old. indeed.' and so He throws it behind His back. sir. 'Thou hast cast my sins behind Thy back?' Is not that where He does not choose to see them any more? They are not pleasant to Him to think of any more than to us." 266 . From Dr Duncan's I went to see old Samuel Weir. you see." I could not help thinking of the words of Macbeth. after I've had my tea. relieved in mind. and what can an old man want more?" "What. Mrs Tomkins. "I do not quite understand you. No one was in the room with him. It would be a dreadful thing if He forgot them before that." I returned. if He never forgets anything----" "I didn't say that. sir. who likewise was ailing. when I knock at the door of the house up there.

when I never saw my mother. at the time uninhabited. as he said. and came simply to the conclusion. as I told you before. sir?" "It was very curious." My readers must not think anything is going to come out of this strange illusion of the old man's brain. I'm none willing to think it's a ghost. Only when I begin to think about it. had peeped in at the door of the same room where he now lay. But I am very glad--you don't know how pleased it makes me to hear that you feel so." "Indeed. for I am main and happy. I can always tell when they are fancies. sir. Mr Weir?" "I've often thought about it." "But I have no end of fancies. I will hope to fare in the same way when my time comes. There's one I see often--a man down on his knees at that cupboard nigh the floor there." "You're not afraid of it. and thought I was lying here waiting for my mother to come in and say good-night to me before I went to sleep. And I wish he would just turn round his face once for a moment that I might see him. sir. "Well. I suspect that is not what people do mean when they say so." "How do you account for that fancy. but I never could account for it. And God can surely take care of me from all sorts. It was a glimpse out of one of the many stories which haunted the old mansion. Wasn't that curious. I questioned him a little more about it. that when he was a child he had found the door open and had wandered into the house. His mind had kept the impression after the conscious memory had lost its hold of the circumstance. I have a notion always it's my own father. half in the cupboard. Why should I be? I never did it no harm. are you?" "No. Just before you came in now. and had actually seen a man in the position he described. and they never put me out. But there he lay like a child. now. I hope you will. sir. fearless even of such usurpations upon his senses. I had really forgotten that I was a toothless old man. and there's nothing there I don't know. searching and searching for somewhat. 267 . searching for something. and now revived it under certain physical conditions. for what's the good of it? I've turned out that cupboard over and over.

I think instances of quiet unSELFconscious faith are more
common than is generally supposed. Few have along with it the genial
communicative impulse of old Samuel Weir, which gives the opportunity
of seeing into their hidden world. He seemed to have been, and to have
remained, a child, in the best sense of the word. He had never had much
trouble with himself, for he was of a kindly, gentle, trusting nature; and
his will had never been called upon to exercise any strong effort to
enable him to walk in the straight path. Nor had his intellect, on the
other hand, while capable enough, ever been so active as to suggest
difficulties to his faith, leaving him, even theoretically, far nearer the
truth than those who start objections for their own sakes, liking to feel
themselves in a position of supposed antagonism to the generally
acknowledged sources of illumination. For faith is in itself a light that
lightens even the intellect, and hence the shield of the complete soldier
of God, the shield of faith, is represented by Spenser as "framed all of
diamond, perfect, pure, and clean," (the power of the diamond to absorb
and again radiate light being no poetic fiction, but a well-known scientific
fact,) whose light falling upon any enchantment or false appearance,
destroys it utterly: for
"all that was not such as seemed in sight. Before that shield did
fade, and suddaine fall."
Old Rogers had passed through a very much larger experience.
Many more difficulties had come to him, and he had met them in his
own fashion and overcome them. For while there is such a thing as
truth, the mind that can honestly beget a difficulty must at the same
time be capable of receiving that light of the truth which annihilates the
difficulty, or at least of receiving enough to enable it to foresee vaguely
some solution, for a full perception of which the intellect may not be as
yet competent. By every such victory Old Rogers had enlarged his being,
ever becoming more childlike and faithful; so that, while the
childlikeness of Weir was the childlikeness of a child, that of Old Rogers
was the childlikeness of a man, in which submission to God is not only a
gladness, but a conscious will and choice. But as the safety of neither
depended on his own feelings, but on the love of God who was working
in him, we may well leave all such differences of nature and education to
the care of Him who first made the men different, and then brought
different conditions out of them. The one thing is, whether we are letting
God have His own way with us, following where He leads, learning the
lessons He gives us.
I wished that Mr Stoddart had been with me during these two
visits. Perhaps he might have seen that the education of life was a
marvellous thing, and, even in the poorest intellectual results, far more
full of poetry and wonder than the outcome of that constant watering
with the watering-pot of self-education which, dissociated from the
duties of life and the influences of his fellows, had made of him what he
was. But I doubt if he would have seen it.

268

A week had elapsed from the night I had sat up with Gerard
Weir, and his mother had not risen from her bed, nor did it seem likely
she would ever rise again. On a Friday I went to see her, just as the
darkness was beginning to gather. The fire of life was burning itself out
fast. It glowed on her cheeks, it burned in her hands, it blazed in her
eyes. But the fever had left her mind. That was cool, oh, so cool, now!
Those fierce tropical storms of passion had passed away, and nothing of
life was lost. Revenge had passed away, but revenge is of death, and
deadly. Forgiveness had taken its place, and forgiveness is the giving,
and so the receiving of life. Gerard, his dear little head starred with
sticking-plaster, sat on her bed, looking as quietly happy as child could
look, over a wooden horse with cylindrical body and jointless legs,
covered with an eruption of red and black spots.--Is it the ignorance or
the imagination of children that makes them so easily pleased with the
merest hint at representation? I suspect the one helps the other towards
that most desirable result, satisfaction.--But he dropped it when he saw
me, in a way so abandoning that--comparing small things with great--it
called to my mind those lines of Milton:--
"From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve, Down dropt,
and all the faded roses shed."
The quiet child FLUNG himself upon my neck, and the mother's
face gleamed with pleasure.
"Dear boy!" I said, "I am very glad to see you so much better."
For this was the first time he had shown such a revival of
energy. He had been quite sweet when he saw me, but, until this
evening, listless.
"Yes," he said, "I am quite well now." And he put his hand up to
his head.
"Does it ache?"
"Not much now. The doctor says I had a bad fall."
"So you had, my child. But you will soon be well again."
The mother's face was turned aside, yet I could see one tear
forcing its way from under her closed eyelid.
"Oh, I don't mind it," he answered. "Mammy is so kind to me!
She lets me sit on her bed as long as I like."
"That IS nice. But just run to auntie in the next room. I think
your mammy would like to talk to me for a little while."
The child hurried off the bed, and ran with overflowing
obedience.
"I can even think of HIM now," said the mother, "without going
into a passion. I hope God will forgive him. I do. I think He will forgive
me."

269

"Did you ever hear," I asked, "of Jesus refusing anybody that
wanted kindness from Him? He wouldn't always do exactly what they
asked Him, because that would sometimes be of no use, and sometimes
would even be wrong; but He never pushed them away from Him, never
repulsed their approach to Him. For the sake of His disciples, He made
the Syrophenician woman suffer a little while, but only to give her such
praise afterwards and such a granting of her prayer as is just
wonderful."
She said nothing for a little while; then murmured,
"Shall I have to be ashamed to all eternity? I do not want not to
be ashamed; but shall I never be able to be like other people--in heaven
I mean?"
"If He is satisfied with you, you need not think anything more
about yourself. If He lets you once kiss His feet, you won't care to think
about other people's opinion of you even in heaven. But things will go
very differently there from here. For everybody there will be more or
less ashamed of himself, and will think worse of himself than he does of
any one else. If trouble about your past life were to show itself on your
face there, they would all run to comfort you, trying to make the best of
it, and telling you that you must think about yourself as He thinks about
you; for what He thinks is the rule, because it is the infallible right way.
But perhaps rather, they would tell you to leave that to Him who has
taken away our sins, and not trouble yourself any more about it. But to
tell the truth, I don't think such thoughts will come to you at all when
once you have seen the face of Jesus Christ. You will be so filled with His
glory and goodness and grace, that you will just live in Him and not in
yourself at all."
"Will He let us tell Him anything we please?"
"He lets you do that now: surely He will not be less our God, our
friend there."
"Oh, I don't mind how soon He takes me now! Only there's that
poor child that I've behaved so badly to! I wish I could take him with
me. I have no time to make it up to him here."
"You must wait till he comes. He won't think hardly of you.
There's no fear of that."
"What will become of him, though? I can't bear the idea of
burdening my father with him."
"Your father will be glad to have him, I know. He will feel it a
privilege to do something for your sake. But the boy will do him good. If
he does not want him, I will take him myself."
"Oh! thank you, thank you, sir."
A burst of tears followed.
"He has often done me good," I said.
"Who, sir? My father?"
"No. Your son."
"I don't quite understand what you mean, sir."
"I mean just what I say. The words and behaviour of your lovely
boy have both roused and comforted my heart again and again."
She burst again into tears.

270

"That is good to hear. To think of your saying that! The poor
little innocent! Then it isn't all punishment?"
"If it were ALL punishment, we should perish utterly. He is your
punishment; but look in what a lovely loving form your punishment has
come, and say whether God has been good to you or not."
"If I had only received my punishment humbly, things would
have been very different now. But I do take it--at least I want to take
it--just as He would have me take it. I will bear anything He likes. I
suppose I must die?"
"I think He means you to die now. You are ready for it now, I
think. You have wanted to die for a long time; but you were not ready
for it before."
"And now I want to live for my boy. But His will be done."
"Amen. There is no such prayer in the universe as that. It means
everything best and most beautiful. Thy will, O God, evermore be done."
She lay silent. A tap came to the chamber-door. It was Mary,
who nursed her sister and attended to the shop.
"If you please, sir, here's a little girl come to say that Mrs
Tomkins is dying, and wants to see you."
"Then I must say good-night to you, Catherine. I will see you to-
morrow morning. Think about old Mrs Tomkins; she's a good old soul;
and when you find your heart drawn to her in the trouble of death, then
lift it up to God for her, that He will please to comfort and support her,
and make her happier than health--stronger than strength, taking off
the old worn garment of her body, and putting upon her the garment of
salvation, which will be a grand new body, like that the Saviour had
when He rose again."
"I will try. I will think about her."
For I thought this would be a help to prepare her for her own
death. In thinking lovingly about others, we think healthily about
ourselves. And the things she thought of for the comfort of Mrs Tomkins,
would return to comfort herself in the prospect of her own end, when
perhaps she might not be able to think them out for herself.

271

CHAPTER XXIX

. CALM AND STORM.
But of the two, Catherine had herself to go first. Again and again was I
sent for to say farewell to Mrs Tomkins, and again and again I returned
home leaying her asleep, and for the time better. But on a Saturday
evening, as I sat by my vestry-fire, pondering on many things, and
trying to make myself feel that they were as God saw them and not as
they appeared to me, young Tom came to me with the news that his
sister seemed much worse, and his father would be much obliged if I
would go and see her. I sent Tom on before, because I wished to follow
alone. It was a brilliant starry night; no moon, no clouds, no wind,
nothing but stars. They seemed to lean down towards the earth, as I
have seen them since in more southern regions. It was, indeed, a
glorious night. That is, I knew it was; I did not feel that it was. For the
death which I went to be near, came, with a strange sense of
separation, between me and the nature around me. I felt as if nature
knew nothing, felt nothing, meant nothing, did not belong to humanity
at all; for here was death, and there shone the stars. I was wrong, as I
knew afterwards.
I had had very little knowledge of the external shows of death.
Strange as it may appear, I had never yet seen a fellow-creature pass
beyond the call of his fellow-mortals. I had not even seen my father die.
And the thought was oppressive to me. "To think," I said to myself, as I
walked over the bridge to the village-street--"to think that the one
moment the person is here, and the next--who shall say WHERE? for we
know nothing of the region beyond the grave! Not even our risen Lord
thought fit to bring back from Hades any news for the human family
standing straining their eyes after their brothers and sisters that have
vanished in the dark. Surely it is well, all well, although we know
nothing, save that our Lord has been there, knows all about it, and does
not choose to tell us. Welcome ignorarance then! the ignorance in which
he chooses to leave us. I would rather not know, if He gave me my
choice, but preferred that I should not know." And so the oppression
passed from me, and I was free.

272

But little as I knew of the signs of the approach of death, I was
certain, the moment I saw Catherine, that the veil that hid the "silent
land" had begun to lift slowly between her and it. And for a moment I
almost envied her that she was so soon to see and know that after which
our blindness and ignorance were wondering and hungering. She could
hardly speak. She looked more patient than calm. There was no light in
the room but that of the fire, which flickered flashing and fading, now
lighting up the troubled eye, and now letting a shadow of the coming
repose fall gently over it. Thomas sat by the fire with the child on his
knee, both looking fixedly into the glow. Gerard's natural mood was so
quiet and earnest, that the solemnity about him did not oppress him. He
looked as if he were present at some religious observance of which he
felt more than he understood, and his childish peace was in no wise
inharmonious with the awful silence of the coming change. He was no
more disquieted at the presence of death than the stars were.
And this was the end of the lovely girl--to leave the fair world
still young, because a selfish man had seen that she was fair! No time
can change the relation of cause and effect. The poison that operates
ever so slowly is yet poison, and yet slays. And that man was now
murdering her, with weapon long-reaching from out of the past. But no,
thank God! this was not the end of her. Though there is woe for that
man by whom the offence cometh, yet there is provision for the offence.
There is One who bringeth light out of darkness, joy out of sorrow,
humility out of wrong. Back to the Father's house we go with the
sorrows and sins which, instead of inheriting the earth, we gathered and
heaped upon our weary shoulders, and a different Elder Brother from
that angry one who would not receive the poor swine-humbled prodigal,
takes the burden from our shoulders, and leads us into the presence of
the Good.
She put out her hand feebly, let it lie in mine, looked as if she
wanted me to sit down by her bedside, and when I did so, closed her
eyes. She said nothing. Her father was too much troubled to meet me
without showing the signs of his distress, and his was a nature that ever
sought concealment for its emotion; therefore he sat still. But Gerard
crept down from his knee, came to me, clambered up on mine, and laid
his little hand upon his mother's, which I was holding. She opened her
eyes, looked at the child, shut them again, and tears came out from
between the closed lids.
"Has Gerard ever been baptized?" I asked her.
Her lips indicated a NO.
"Then I will be his godfather. And that will be a pledge to you
that I will never lose sight of him."
She pressed my hand, and the tears came faster.

273

walking on the shore of the Eternal. and heeded it not. wherein our Lord gave Himself entirely to us. we kneeled. she quietly breathed her last. But I do love Thee. vanished in its turn. but I stood on the firm ground of truth. Believing with all my heart that the dying should remember their dying Lord. and I thanked the Father of us aloud that He had taken her to Himself. as it were. and to the Father of us all in holiest sacrifice as the high- priest of us His people. "Lord. and young Tom. I had passed Jane Rogers on her way to her father's. For a moment I had been. saying he would call in the morning. as if that unsympathetic look they wore came from this. and lifted me no nearer to "Him who made the seven stars and Orion. through the same darkness which lay before our Lord when He uttered the words and appointed the symbol. and therefore could not be sad to the eyes of men. He would have gone to find me. I knew better what the stars meant. the whole world of humanity hangs. she lay still as before. around the bed. I heard her murmur once. In a few moments more it was raving around me." And about two hours after. my sister said. it had carried me away from my rest. leading us to the altar of a like self-abnegation. The stars were still shining as brightly as before. I do not deserve it. and having just greeted her. I thought it better to go to his house. Upon what that bread and that wine mean. They looked to me now as if they knew all about death. and that the "Do this in remembrance of me" can never be better obeyed than when the partaker is about to pass. It is the redemption of men. as it now came back upon me. and once more the stars were far away. I could give no reason for my sudden fearfulness. save this: that as I went to Catherine's house. for had she not awaked even as she fell asleep? When I came out once more. but. had gone on. Far away across the level sands I heard it moaning. For when I returned home. He would not leave any message. where the tide of time had left me in its retreat. Thomas and I. the sacrifice of our Lord. who had by this time joined us with his sister Mary. that they were made like the happy truth. supported by the God of his faith. to live by His death. and she had put him to bed a little before. and now her father had been to seek me: it must have something to do with Miss Oldcastle. and partook with the dying woman of the signs of that death. with some significance in her face which conveyed nothing to me. After she had received the holy sacrament." When I examined myself. she had looked at me strangely--that is. however. and not like our fears. my sister told me that Old Rogers had called. We all kneeled. Gerard had been fast asleep on his aunt's lap. the sense that the world and all its cares would thus pass into nothing. and seemed concerned not to find me at home. 274 . and I was filled with the noise of its cares. had I been anywhere but by a deathbed. but a strong foreboding of trouble filled my mind. But soon the solemn feeling of repose. Surely he slept a deeper sleep than his mother's.

I MAY say that I cried to God. I thought. I thought you had been in bed. "Won't you speak to me. But when I came to the cottage. not one faileth. for the night's cold out o' doors. for that He is strong in power. By the greatness of His might. "I beg your pardon. I thought--I thought---" hesitated the old man. and my judgment is passed over from my God?" The night was very still." "I came to find you. He that believeth shall--not make haste. and knowin' it to be a good place to--to--shut the door in. I came out as soon as she was asleep. Is my faith not strong enough to be still?" I looked up to the heavens once more. his white head glimmering. "does not demand that power should always be force. What I tried to say more I will not say here. We cannot fall out of His safety. and I thought you would rather be left alone. And the key o' the mill allus hangin' at the back o' my door. I can't sleep. and fell on my knees by the mill-door. hangs us in the awful hollows of space. and I could not bring myself to rouse the weary man from his bed. and fell a pondering on the profusion of strength that rushed past the wheel away to the great sea. He turned at once with evident pleasure. The stars seemed to shine into me the divine reproach of those glorious words. fearless and confident. Rogers. there was. and the quietness of the stars seemed to reproach me. sir. Rogers ?" I said. with that strange feeling of something like shame that seizes one at the very thought of other eyes than those of the Father. I was ashamed of having intruded on you. I won't now. I only keep the old 'oman wakin'. as I found to my surprise on looking at my watch. and bowed his head with an unconscious expression of humble dignity. Lift up your eyes on high. How do you come to be out so late?" "You see. "that you might like to go into the mill." I thought. "We are safe up here. but would have passed me without speech. Indeed it was past eleven." "Thank you. What I said to Him ought not. O Jacob! and speakest. When I opened my eyes I saw the door of the mill was open too. The old man came forward. So I turned and lingered by the old mill. I started to my feet. But it needs strength to be still. but I little thought to see you." they seemed to say: "we shine. "O my God!" I cried. O Israel! my way is hid from the Lord." 275 . with a look on his face as if he had just come down from the mount. Power itself must repose. doing nothing. it was dark and still. for the God who gave the primrose its rough leaves to hide it from the blast of uneven spring. sir. says the Bible. "Nature. stood Old Rogers. Catherine Weir is gone home. cannot be repeated to another. not thinking how the time went. I could not bear to part with him thus. and behold! Who hath created these things--that bringeth out their host by number! He calleth them all by names. sir. leaving the mill-door open behind him. Why sayest thou. it's no use to go to bed. and there in the door. no one awake within miles of me. when I'm in any trouble.

" I said. yes. as from a sepulchral tavern. "What did you want to see me about?" I inquired. with hesitation. while you was on your knees o' the other side o' the door. Although Lear was of course right when he said. "I am sorry to hear you are in trouble to-night. through my heart. sir. and we were in its shelter save where a window behind and the door beside me allowed free passage to the first of the coming storm. "If you can help yourself. sir. that sometimes. The same moment a cold wind blew on me from the open door of the mill. I could make no reply." An icy spear seemed to pass through my heart. You know that's not the point. Is she quite well?" "Yes. that the intellectual part of the mind can go on working with strange independence of the emotional. "The captain's there again." The old man's tone seemed to reprove me for vain words. And perhaps something will come out now that will help us. poor woman. Can I help you?" I resumed." I could partly guess what the old man meant. sir. sir. the mind takes marvellous notice of the smallest things that happen around it. For a wind had arisen from behind the mill." "I do not quite understand you." yet it is also true. This involves a law of which illustrations could be plentifully adduced from Shakespeare himself. But I have no right to say so. in absolute pain. if a pair of old eyes be not blind. "I daresay it was very foolish of me. just when that pang shot. you can help me. "I am right glad to hear it. "The tempest in my mind Doth from my senses take all feeling else Save what beats there. a man may pray to God about anything he sees. But I just wanted to tell you that--our Jane was down here from the Hall this arternoon----" "I passed her on the bridge. in the midst of its greatest pain. 276 . blew a cold wind like the very breath of death upon me. I was prayin' hard about you in there. Only. From the door of the mill. and I could not ask him for further explanation. namely. But Rogers made no reply. He hesitated for a moment. and I held my peace.

The first I remember after that cold wind is. for our senses to know it. all the rivers of life rush and are silent. I believed I turned away from the old man without a word. sacred in the eyes of the Father who honours His children. The sea of life--a life too keen. upon the common where I had dealt so severely with her who had this very night gone into that region into which. He made no attempt to detain me. I cannot tell. Whether he went back into his closet. Is it the sea of death? No. too refined. and therefore we call it death--because we cannot lay hold upon it. even as the church wherein many prayers went up to Him. as into a waveless sea. gathered even to a storm. 277 . the old mill. that I was fighting with that wind. or turned homewards to his cottage and his sleeping wife.

I pushed it and entered. dark. It roared overhead. empty and desolate. beaten by the ungenial hail. stepping gently lest some ear might be awake--as if any ear. I had left the common. Here the wind did not reach me. that it stood. The next point in that night of pain is when I found myself standing at the iron gate of Oldcastle Hall. The wind had risen to a storm charged with fierce showers of stinging hail. where I had first seen Miss Oldcastle reading. the hermits of this cell stood upright and still around the sleeping water. I sat down on the seat at the foot of a tree. but I dared not stop to look up at the back of the house. Yes. passed my own house and the church. even that of Judy's white wolf. like an eyeless skull. I knew that I was there--only when first I stood in the shelter of one of those great pillars and the monster on its top. I will not dwell upon my thoughts as I wandered about over that waste. could have heard the loudest step in such a storm. the dead rain of the country of death. I went on to the staircase in the rock. "But it would be to marry another some day. She then could not rest any more than I. around the deep-walled pool. But before I rose from her seat I was ready even for that--at least I thought so--if only I might deliver her from the all but destruction that seemed to be impending over her." suggested the tormentor within. Finding the gate open. as if of sympathy with their suffering brethren abroad in the woild. which had a little abated. the shape of the house--almost felt my way to the stair. But my heart was a well in which a storm boiled and raged. and then danced and scudded along the levels. The wind was roaring in the trees as I think I have never heard it roar since. while sleep was driven from mine because I could not marry the woman I would. Gladly would I have given her up for ever. Sleep was driven from her eyes because she must wed the man she would not. in part at least. though it was much too dark to discern. there was a light there! It must be in her window. without one dim light to show that sleep and not death ruled within. And then I looked up to the house. and mingled an unearthly hiss with the roar. dangerous in the flapping of such storm- wings as swept about it that night. I could have fancied that there were no windows in it. 278 . Was that it? No. to redeem her from such a bondage. The same moment in which my mind seemed to have arrived at the possibility of such a resolution. which gave a look of gray wrath to the invisible wind as it swept slanting by. for the hail clashed upon the bare branches and twigs. save an occasional sigh. I rose almost involuntarily. but. and by its rude steps. and glancing once more at the dull light in her window--for I did not doubt that it was her window. without a hope. crossed the river. walked through the village. for they were not precise about having it fastened. I heard the hailstones crush between my feet and the soft grass of the lawn. in that gaunt forest of skeleton trees. I passed round to the other side. silent. In the midst of it the house stood like a tomb. broke out afresh in my soul. and climbed again into the storm. descended to the little grove below. of thinking only of my own sorrow in the presence of her greater distress. My heart acquitted me. and all that "pother o'er my head" was peace itself compared to what I felt. And then the storm. and was restored to self-consciousness--that is.

It must have been nearly morning. I was thus confusing and reconstructing the two dreadful stories of the place--that told me by old Weir. nor. only because that which I feared had not yet come. I should see her body float into the well from the subterranean passage. I was again in the old quarry. if I stood long enough. staring into the deep well. and I awoke to less trouble than that of my dreams. about the circumstances of his birth. I thought Mrs Oldcastle was murdering her daughter in the house above. for I could always let myself in. though at this season of the year the morning is undefined. while I was spell-bound to the spot. sorrow and pity more than horror broke the bonds of sleep. My sister had gone to bed. about Mrs Oldcastle's treatment of her elder daughter. the opening of which was just below where I stood. But I was quieter now. 279 . did any one in Marshmailows think the locking of the door at night an imperative duty. indeed. When I fell asleep. where. and able to go home. But as a white hand and arm appeared in the water below me. and that told me by Dr Duncan. when I reached my own house.

The wind dashed itself against the casement. time to time. 280 . the bushes. "My God!" was all the prayer I could pray ere I descended to join my sister at the breakfast-table. But her eyes alone questioned me. But how was I to do the work of my office? When a man's duty looks like an enemy. The first thing I knew when I awoke was the raving of that wind. dragging him into the dark mountains. but I could address myself to the work I had to do. for the bare branches went streaming out in the torrent of the wind. like a friend with loving face. Martha could not help seeing that something was the matter. But He knew what lay behind the one word. he has no less to go with it than when. I was grateful to her for saying nothing. which looked stricken as if they could die of grief. were yet tormented with fear. I saw by her looks that she could read so much in mine. It is a fine thing in friendship to know when to be silent. The trees. and that only by glancing at me anxiously from. It was the Sabbath morn. The ground. I had little power over my feelings. CHAPTER XXX . as cowering before the invisible foe. A SERMON TO MYSELF. I could not rest. I could lie in bed not a moment longer. laden with soft heavy sleet. But such a Sabbath! The day seemed all wan with weeping. I could not prevent my mind from mirroring itself in the nature around me. and gray with care. the very outhouses seemed sodden with the rain. it offers to lead him along green pastures by the river-side.

although I could not feel them. 281 . Might not some hungry soul go away without being satisfied. as if the Father had descended from the throne of the heavens. got even some comfort already. so utterly dissociated would they have been from anything that I was thinking or feeling now. in the hands of all my friends. If I knew that God was going to lay the full weight of this grief upon me. which I did think and feel yesterday. nor have justified me in making the attempt. and in the hearts of some of them. and if I could not enter into them as I would. "Might I not try the other way now. whose mind was one confusion? The subject on which I was pondering when young Weir came to tell me his sister was dying. And now the converse of the thought came to me. Here would have been my visible form and audible voice. should I not at least be more quiet? There would not be a storm within me then. but which. How was I to teach others. It was within an hour of church-time. or it might be of years. because I was faint and down-hearted? I confess I had a desire likewise to avoid giving rise to speculation and talk about myself. and 'chaos were come again. with the great old cedar roaring before my window.' Let me expostulate with myself in my heart. I could not even recall what I had thought and felt. The prayers were before me. and found myself in my vestry not quite unwilling to read the prayers and speak to my people. as felt by me now. and must wait the revolution of months. and the words of my expostulation will not be the less true with my people. had retreated as if into the far past." All this passed through my mind as I sat in my study after breakfast. But. Should I then tell them that I could not speak to them that morning?--There would be nothing wrong in that. though but one black night had rolled by. But I felt ashamed of yielding to personal trouble when the truths of God were all about me. was not present to my feeling or heart. uttering that as present to me now. And if I could have recalled my former thoughts. might I not teach others? Would it not hold? I am very troubled and faithless now. indeed. I could yet read them humbly before God as His servant to help the people to worship as one flock. a desire which. although I believed it. for I had nothing to say on the matter now. I should have felt a hypocrite as I delivered them. although not wrong. but never in so much. and I said to myself. it seemed as if years had come between that time and this. before I should be able to exhort my people about it with the fervour of a present faith. I took my Bible. yet if I loved Him with all my heart. before I should feel it again. could neither have strengthened me to speak the truth. and preach to myself? In teaching myself. read and thought. that I was exhorting myself whose necessity was greater than theirs--at least I felt it to be greater than I could know theirs to be. in preaching to my people. But how was I to preach? I had been in difficulty before now.--What was to be done? All at once the remembrance crossed my mind of a sermon I had preached before upon the words of St Paul: "Thou therefore which teachest another. teachest thou not thyself?" a subject suggested by the fact that on the preceding Sunday I had especially felt. To attempt to speak upon that would have been vain.

and go down upon your knees and worship"--for power alone was never yet worthy of prayer." and then I proceeded to show them how the glory of the Lord was to be revealed. O Israel--my way is HID from the Lord. And if I thought more of myself in my prayers than was well. But can you not trust in me? Look how strong I am. and for which you can do things to win its favour. This is a God indeed! Shall we not trust Him?" 282 . Do not think of me as of an image that your hands can make. I preached to myself that throughout this fortieth chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah. for love is life. Instead of finding myself a mere minister to the prayers of others. may glory over His feeble children. "God brings His strength to destroy our weakness by making us strong. not that He. you will never be strong but with MY strength. And what is the work of my strong hand and ruling arm? To feed my flock like a shepherd. and my judgment is passed over from my God! I give POWER to the FAINT. and over your life. that which I say to you out of my truth. Look at the stars I have made. and all the nations. and I love you. And that you can get only by trusting in me. my children. Not one goes wrong. and gently lead those that are with young. Lay hold of my word. and your oppressors I will wither with my breath. I have measured the waters in the hollow of my hand. would I not strengthen my brethren? And the sermon I preached to myself and through myself to my people. "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed. and carry them in my bosom. yet as soon as I was converted. I have no other to give you. as I read. which harmonized somewhat with my feelings. to my further relief. that my heart went out in crying to God for the divine presence of His Spirit. and. and to them that have no might. not that He may say to them--"Look how mighty I am. I know every one of them. But I say love me. the Hall pew was empty. and thereby driven me to my knees by the mill-door. and speakest. I found." "Thus." I went on to say. was that which the stars had preached to me. and that will be life in you that the blowing of the wind that withers cannot reach. Let the grass wither. You wither like the grass. The day was one of the worst-- violently stormy. Why sayest thou. to give each his due weight. I am coming with my strong hand and my judging arm to do my work. I cannot give it you any other way. Do not fear. because I keep him right. O Jacob. and held the mountains in my scales. a thing you can choose to serve. the perfect. so strong and fearful in your eyes. I am before and above the earth. plenty of strength. There were very few present. I come to you with help I need no worship from you. I took for my text. the power of God is put side by side with the weakness of men. to gather the lambs with my arm. are as nothing beside my strength and what I can do. There is no other way. but that he may say thus: "Look.

And then I repeated to them this portion of a prayer out of one of Sir Philip Sidney's books:-- "O Lord. which the pure in heart and the meek alone could inherit.) let me crave. and make them able in patience to possess their souls. and they altogether belonged to Him. I gave my people this paraphrase of the chapter. that I am Thy creature. that the light and gladness of God and all His earth. would unite to prevent them from catching more than broken glimmerings of. might shine in upon them. that they were to trust in God. which in my greatest affliction I may give myself. even by the noblest title. and so the trouble would work its end-- the purification of their minds. and their non- familiarity with the modes of Eastern thought. Only thus much let me crave of Thee. such as pain or loss of work. I yield unto Thy will. But I told them they must not be too anxious to be delivered from that which troubled them: but they ought to be anxious to have the presence of God with them to support them. and joyfully embrace what sorrow Thou wilt have me suffer. and by Thy goodness (which is Thyself) that Thou wilt suffer some beam of Thy majesty so to shine into my mind." 283 . they too straightway became spiritual affairs. were referred to God and His will. be accepted of Thee. And then I tried to show them that it was in the commonest troubles of life. for nothing in the world could any longer appear common or unclean to the man who saw God in everything. for God made the outside as well as the inside. O Lord. (let my craving. since even that proceeds from Thee. or difficulty in getting money. and the forms of Eastern expression. that it may still depend confidently on Thee. to help them to see the meanings which their familiarity with the words. and that when outside things. as well as in the spiritual fears and perplexities that came upon them.

" And while I spoke. and made to the end. that when He made. or rather when He makes. of being such a type--of the resurrection of the human body. Nor let any one call me superstitious for taking that pale sun-ray of hope as sent to me. and the sun is shining in its strength. and over my head. I told the people that in Greek there was one word for the soul and for a butterfly--Psyche. my eye falls upon the Bible on the table by my side. the influences of Nature upon human minds and hearts are because He intended them. The leaves are dancing in the light wind that gives them each its share of the sun. therefore. Miss Oldcastle told me once that she could not take her eyes off a butterfly which was flitting about in the church all the time I was speaking of the resurrection of the dead. now resting on one. "This. but His heart too. but only remembered that she had seen it when it was mentioned in her hearing: on her the sight made no impression. 284 . the Lord will give grace and glory. and in the sorrow. like the storm of that night and the unrest of that strange Sabbath. He must be in the coincidence of those things. and my trouble has passed away for ever. the rain. and in the pain. if He be in the things that coincide. that not His hands only. so the human heart escapes thither to hear the still small voice of God when its faith is too weak to find Him in the storm. a dim watery gleam fell on the chancel-floor. even as the bow that was set in the cloud. a promise to the eyes of light for them that sit in darkness." I said aloud. is in the making of those things. was dashing against the windows. she saw no coincidence. As I write. and I read the words. All the time I was speaking. which had taken refuge in the church till the storm should cease and the sun shine out in the great temple." And I lift my eyes from my paper and look abroad from my window. "is what the church is for: as the sparrow finds there a house from the storm. that its name certainly expressed the hope of the Greeks in immortality. amongst other ends. and the comfort of the sun awoke in my heart. so the butterfly was the type in nature. "For the Lord God is a sun and shield. whereby we shall know and love each other with our eyes as well as our hearts.-- My sister saw the butterfly too. from beam to beam of the roof. and the wind was howling over the graves all about. And if we believe that our God is everywhere. mingled with sleet. He means. if we really believed that our God was the God of Nature. now flitting to another. that. and for me as one of the family. why should we not think Him present even in the coincidences that sometimes seem so strange? For. while to us it speaks likewise of a glorified body. for I received it as comfort for the race. a sparrow kept flying. that I thought as the light on the rain made the natural symbol of mercy--the rainbow. But the dead were not troubled by the storm. Such comforts would come to us oftener from Nature.

we ought to be disappointed. not divine in a word. intellectual corroboration. They were all poor people. I lingered with these. Not as I minds the wet: it finds out the holes in people's shoes. and now approached me. took the form of acknowledgment for the rain that found out the holes in the people's shoes. whom the weather might have discomposed in their worn dwellings. whether that of poetic delight. I descended from the pulpit comforted by the sermon I had preached to myself. practical commonplace. But I was glad to feel justified in telling my people that. in consequence of the continued storm. God at least is pleased: and if our refinement and education take away from our pleasure. is. "I am sorry you will have such a wet walk home. A response which jars against the peculiar pitch of our mental instrument." This was in fact the response of the shoemaker's wife to my sermon. it is because of something low. that the porches were crowded. We must drop our instrument and listen to the other. Our mood of the moment is not that by which the universe is tuned into its harmonies. soon to be taken down again as worse than useless in the violence of the wind. 285 . there would be no service in the afternoon. gathering up of skirts over the head. false. must be welcomed by the husbandmen of the God of growth. Mr Stoddart. whatever form it may take. for there had been no more of sunshine than just that watery gleam. and gets my husband into more work. striving to embody something he sees of the same truth the utterance of which called forth this his answer. and if we find that the player upon it is breathing after a higher expression. If the shoemaker's wife's response to the prophet's grand poem about the care of God over His creatures. it was the more genuine and true. a little wizened creature. that is mingled with that refinement and that education. If we look for responses after our fashion instead of after people's own fashion. for in itself it afforded proof that it was not a mere reflex of the words of the prophet. or even vulgar aphorism. who the older and more withered she grew. whose love for the old organ had been stronger than his dislike to the storm. the shoemaker. seemed like the kernels of some nuts only to grow the sweeter. for if there are holes in people's shoes. sir. the sooner they are found out the better. must not therefore be turned away from with dislike. let us thank God and take courage. and that I would instead visit some of my sick poor. had come down into the church. There was so much putting on of clogs. and expanding of umbrellas. Any recognition of truth. and the few left in the church detained till the others made way. Nor was there anything necessarily selfish in it. and selfish. after his fashion. with more wrinkles than hairs. the wife of old Reginald Baird. While I was talking to Mrs Baird. but sprung from the experience and recognition of the shoemaker's wife. The people were very slow in dispersing." I said to Mrs Baird. "It's very good of you to let us off this afternoon.

or gives money liberally because he thinks he ought. "I never saw you in the church before. that a man works well upon it. We could not talk much as we went along." "You must. Our Lord did not make little of visiting: 'I was sick. I have seldom a companion. that my courage failed me. and I turned back--like the sparrow--for refuge in the church." I returned. "Come home with me. but the windows of heaven were opened. You use your own private door always. "but you would not deprive us of the aid of your music for the sake of a charge of wind. it looked like it. and the wind was not cold. and ye visited me. 286 . Will you come?" "I suppose I must. I have often wished to ask you. Thank you." "But I cannot pretend to feel any of the interest you consider essential: why then should I go?" "To please me." "But I shan't be of any use. and then we will go together to see some of my poor people. we hurried to the vicarage. at least. "though I have heard you often enough.) and set out for the village. The best good of given money depends on the degree to which it is the sign of that friendship and sympathy. but there came such a fierce burst of wind and rain in my face. ye did it not to me. You will help me. Nothing yet given him or done for him by his fellow. "It is such a day!" he answered. he must eat well--and it is the one justification of eating well. Your very presence will be of use. remonstratingly. for he only does harm to them and himself too. then. "So it was when you set out this morning. if the visitor goes professionally and not humanly. and have some lunch. You are going. You need not say a word--you must not pretend anything.--as a mere religious policeman. and if the fountains of the great deep were not broken up. but not positively refusing." "A thought strikes me. It was not his way ever to refuse anything positively. the more he does not go the better. and a rattle of rain-drops. The rain was worse than ever. for it is with man as with beast. Go as my companion. (to which I was pleased to see Mr Stoddart do justice. not as their visitor." "I thought to go that way now." "I beg your pardon.' Of course. that is--whether he only distributes tracts with condescending words. Mr Stoddart." His face fell. "Don't you find some pleasure in fighting the wind?" I said. ever did any man so much good as the recognition of the brotherhood by the common signs of friendship and sympathy. and that is enough. There was no sleet. had a good though hasty lunch. when we reached the bridge and saw how the river had spread out over all the low lands on its borders." So when the storm-fit had abated for the moment. if you want work out of him. That is a good human reason." I said.' 'Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these. your friend." I said.

"No. as he rose. "Perhaps you had better go home. Though I confess I wish I could see the enemy a little clearer. "if I thought I were going to do any good. "There are two things you forget. "She does know you. "Oh. and I saw that the water was at the threshold. who. I would call a wild goose chase. I had nobody to send. "for you must wade into Tomkins's if you go at all. And I do believe the wind 'ud ha' blown me off my two old legs. "First. But she IS goin' now." A moan of protestation came from the dying woman." I said. I couldn't leave her to come for you. "you're come at last!" "Did you send for me?" I asked. than contemplate the sufferings of the greatest and wickedest. to tell the truth. after all. Poor old man! what can he be doing. Tomkins. but as it is. but I had no idea you would be flooded. Mr Walton. and walking into it. I am come. though it IS cold sin' the fire went. I would have come sooner. "if your expectation was sure to turn out correct. had not yet grumbled in the least." "It's not that I mind." "Well. Leastways. and loves you too. "I have no doubt I should. you see." answered Mr Stoddart. I turned to Mr Stoddart. which lay low down from the village towards the river. and her breathin's worse and worse. that what I have complained of in this expedition-- which as far as I am concerned." I said. She don't know me now. When I opened the door. the first thing I saw was a small stream of water running straight from the door to the fire on the hearth. pointing to the water. sir. I would rather be by my own fire with my folio Dante on the reading desk. almost crying. sir. we had come within a few yards of the Tomkins's cottage. I never turned my back on my leader yet. Mr Stoddart followed me without a moment's hesitation. which it had already drowned. sir. that the poem of Dante is not nearly occupied with the sufferings of the wicked. sir." returned Mr Stoddart." As I spoke. sir. Life seemed rapidly going from the old woman." I replied." "You would have the best of the argument entirely. I would rather help the poorest woman in creation." 287 . She lay breathing very hard." said the old man." "There is the enemy. I asked the Lord if He wouldn't fetch you." I said. with his wife dying." "Well. "And you'll both know each other better by and by. She ha'n't spoken a word this two hours and more. and the river in his house!" "You have constituted yourself my superior officer. The old man was sitting by his wife's bedside. and next. I been prayin' hard for you for the last hour. to do him justice. were it not that it is your doing and not mine--is that I am not going to help anybody." I said.

and give them an occasional half-crown. who had stood looking on disconsolately:-- "You heard me say I would visit some of my sick people this afternoon. And I'll get out through the greenhouse. "I'll get it. without caring to disturb my satisfaction by determining whether the devotion of his own soup arose more from love to Jones. I made her husband sit on the bed on the other side of her and take hold of her other hand. and guessing what it was from what she had said before. But she would be beyond the reach of all the region storms before long. This seemed to content her. "Keep your seat. I gave him the necessary directions to find the cottages. I resumed my seat by the bedside." said Mr Stoddart. "What am I to do?" he said. Some will be expecting me with certainty. but I will see them soon. because old Mrs Tomkins is dying. and tell them that I cannot come. He was a great help to me in the latter part of his life. "I will tell her I want my luncheon. So I went and whispered to Mr Stoddart. As soon as I took her hand she ceased." And he got a basin from the cupboard. standing in dismay over the fragments of a jug of soup which he had dropped. while I took his place on the chair by the bedside. or fear of the cook. "Look if you can find a basin or plate. He was just one of those men who make excellent front-rank men. and carry it to Jones. "There's one in the press there. but he always required to be told." I said. rising feebly. For I wanted to give him the first chance of being useful. especially after I lost good Dr Duncan. so as to ask after their health when he met them." He stood uncertain for a moment. I always have soup. and put it to catch the drop here. It was cold and deathlike."--"Why. "Poor Jones expects his soup to-day. I took it in mine. to the detriment of his trousers as well as the loss of his soup. and it did not matter much. You must go instead of me." I said. and he left me. Tell her you must have some more as soon as it can be got ready. but are quite unfit for officers. and put it on the bed to catch the drop. for it consisted only in his knowing two or three of them."--"But what will cook say?" The poor man was more afraid of the cook than he would have been of a squadron of cavalry. He could do what he was told without flinching. It seems scarcely more than yesterday--though it is twenty years ago--that I came upon him in the avenue." He seemed rather relieved at the commission. at first. 288 ."--"Very well. But it led to better things before many years had passed." said the old man. "that will do capitally. Then his face brightened. Mr Stoddart. The rain was falling in large slow drops from the roof upon the bedclothes. but by its motion I knew that she wanted something. and so I sat till it began to grow dark. and my beloved friend Old Rogers. where the old woman was again moaning. The old woman made a feeble motion with her hand." And I went on. The old woman held my hand in hers. I may mention here that this was the beginning of a relation between Mr Stoddart and the poor of the parish--a very slight one indeed. "Never mind the cook. go back and get some more.

"Are you there." And all that I could hear of her answer was. sir?" she would murmur. "Bym by." She would be silent for a while. and then murmur again-- "Are you there." answered the old man to one of these questions. I am here." "I can't feel you. bym by." 289 . my woman. sir. "Yes. And you can hear God's voice in your heart. though you can't see Him. "but I wish I was there instead. old girl. wheresomever it be as you're goin'. And God is here. I have a hold of your hand. though you can't feel me." "But you can hear me. Tomkins?" "Yes. I'm here. I am here.

but she could love. as if these were more than the transient accidents of humanity. she could wish to be better. she could trust in God her Saviour. and plain. I was interested in HER. she had few thoughts of her own--and gave still fewer of them expression. only rendered tenfold more beautiful by the growth of fifty years of learning according to her ability. And now the loving God-made human heart in her was going into a new school that it might begin a fresh beautiful growth. Our best living poet says--but no. dying away by inches? Is it only that she died with a hold of my hand. and all that had made her youth attractive to young Tomkins was about to return to her. The meaning of the passage is that the communication of truth is one of the greatest delights the human heart can experience. I will not quote. to watch the dawn of the rising intelligence upon the too still face. Does not the teaching of men form a great part of the divine gladness? 290 . who said touching things. She was old. her speech was very common. she could admire good people. because her habits have neither been delicate nor self-indulgent? To help the mind of such a woman to unfold to the recognition of the endless delights of truth. who needed the same salvation I needed. Surely this is true. old and plain. she could hope. her manner rather brusque than gentle. is a labour and a delight worth the time and mind of an archangel. Why should I linger over the death-bed of an illiterate woman. as the gentle rusticity vanishes in yet gentler grace. She had no theories--at least. she could forget herself. God has such patience in working us into vessels of honour! in teaching us to be children! And shall we find the human heart in which the germs of all that is noblest and loveliest and likest to God have begun to grow and manifest themselves uninteresting. but an abstract idea she could scarcely lay hold of. and that therefore I am interested in the story? I trust not. and died amidst a circle of friends. I have said. but now her old age and plainness were about to vanish. though neither sordid nor unclean. because she has neither learned grammar nor philosophy. Why? Would my readers be more interested if I told them of the death of a young lovely creature. bare. and poverty-stricken. she gave utterance to none. because the woman is old and wrinkled and brown. and the transfiguration of the whole form. she could be sorry for what she did or thought wrong. It is a distinct wrong that befalls the best books to have many of their best words quoted till in their own place and connexion they cease to have force and influence. who was passing through the same dark passage into the light that the Lord had passed through before her. to whom the love of God was the one blessed thing. because its circumstances have been narrow. that I had to pass through after her. who felt that the very light of life was being taken away from them? It was enough for me that here was a woman with a heart like my own. you might guess at a true notion in her mind.

But where's your cart? I haven't got one. I went to Old Rogers. It was the first of the spring weather. sir. The storm had died in the night. She brought a load of gravel from the common a few days ago. disconsolate. It wouldn't be stealing to borrow it. giving thanks to God for taking her to Himself. sir. but as comfortable as he could be. who desires not to be distinguished by any better fate than theirs. or that of the noblest of the good. and the grass be the thicker for its rising." At length. I must think." "There's one at Weir's to be repaired. It went to my heart to leave the old man alone with the dead. do you think?" "Quite quietly. ere the women should come to do the last offices for the abandoned form. and I prayed aloud. The jaw fell. The whole country was gleaming with water. directly. Mrs Rogers was bustling about cheerily. I thought it better to leave all the rest to him. in the easy chair by the side of the fire. The old man closed the mouth and the eyes of his old companion." "But how can you bring him in such a night?" "Let me see. sir. weeping like a child. He only said afterwards. and shrinks from the pride of supposing that his own death. is more precious in the sight of God than that of "one of the least of these little ones. He can't be left there. I found Tomkins sitting. but it was better to let him be alone for a while. 291 . the peculiar sounds of obstructed breathing indicated the end at hand. But soon it would sink away. after a long silence. The sun was shining. Would your mare go in a cart. that he could hardly get the old man away from the body. But when I went in next day. told him the state in which I had left poor Tomkins." How he managed with Tomkins I do not know. and the eyes were fixed. and asked him what was to be done. Therefore even the dull approaches of death are full of deep significance and warm interest to one who loves his fellows. "I'll go and bring him home.

But as I was not to blame in the matter. "You told her I had a bad cold. and introduced Miss Crowther. when I was unable to leave my bed. and now I had to suffer for it. So my sister made me a little tidier. I could no longer conceal from myself that I was in danger of a return of my last attack. nor will he be surprised if I say that next morning I felt disinclined to leave my bed. did you not?" "Oh. Now listen to me. who has left a little boy behind her. Now. "Which Miss Crowther is it?" I asked. to Old Rogers's cottage. I hear that one of your people is dead. with my boots full of water. are you?" "I hope not. My sister came into my room and said that Miss Crowther had called. however. to care much whether I was well or ill. she doesn't mind seeing you. it will do you no harm to see her. to rise and go." Of course I was no longer in any doubt as to which of them it was. But when I came home. On the Thursday. and knew that Captain Everard was at the Hall. I suppose I must see her. "The little lady that looks like a bird. I could have welcomed death in the mood in which I sometimes felt myself during the next few days. whereas. more--for there was only death between these and me. I felt better. CHAPTER XXXI ." I said. and chirps when she talks. Miss Jemima. and if you don't mind seeing her." "I am glad of that." "Well. For no voice reached me from that quarter any more than if Oldcastle Hall had been a region beyond the grave. from mental strife and hopelessness. I begin to think this morning that I am going to get off easier than I expected. and knew nothing besides. and had no choice offered me whether I should be wet or dry while I sat by the dying woman. and it is a matter of some importance. yes. A COUNCIL OF FRIENDS. and paralysed any effort I might fancy myself on the point of making for her rescue. One pleasant thing happened. But she says if it is only a cold. "O dear Mr Walton. didn't you?" "Of course. I felt no depression at the prospect of the coming illness. My reader will easily believe that I returned home that Sunday evening somewhat jaded. I have been wanting for a long time to adopt a child----" 292 . She says she's used to seeing sick folk in bed. as I have said." "But you told her I was in bed. Indeed. Indeed. I am SO sorry! But you're not very ill. a young woman of the name of Weir. there was something far worse--I could not always tell what--that rose ever between Miss Oldcastle and myself. I was too much depressed from other causes. I think it was. Miss Oldcastle seemed to have vanished from my ken as much as Catherine Weir and Mrs Tomkins--yes. I was able. I had been sitting for hours in wet clothes. I won't keep you. and wanted to see me. But it makes no difference.

But I did not give a positive and final refusal to Miss Crowther. I am the more determined to adopt him. though." And the dear old lady shook hands with me and left me rather hurriedly. Good morning. and besides. and an uncle and aunt. indeed. when I do want my own way very particularly. I must say. yea. and we shall find out what's best." I interposed. as I had suspected.primo-- primogeniture--that's it! Well. You must not think I should not like you to have him. which is not often. but never having had my conjectures confirmed. I will say no more about them." "Thank you. though I cannot tell the story now. 293 . Mr Walton. for there are not so many things that it's worth while insisting upon--but when I DO want my own way. "I am very glad to hear it. Mr Walton." "You? I didn't expect that of you. Miss Jemima. Of course I talked the matter over with Thomas Weir. I only said "for the present. I do hope. whoever was his father. besides that I thought Thomas and his daughter ought to have all the comfort and good that were to be got from the presence of the boy whose advent had occasioned them so much trouble and sorrow. and talk about it to his grandfather." "I am very glad to hear it. and will have a godfather--that's me--in a few days. and that's the worse for the boy. Nor did I press the matter at all." What could have made Miss Crowther take such a fancy to the boy? I could not help associating it with what I had heard of her youthful disappointment. I always have it. I then stand upon my right of--what do you call it?-. What friends has he?" "He has a grandfather. to add-- "Mind. turning at the door. I've set my heart upon having the boy. if you don't come to see me." I interrupted her. I presume?" "I am not so sure of that. Still----" "The boy is an uncommonly sweet and lovable child. and sin too. Mr Walton." for I did not feel at liberty to go further. I hope. "But. but. Mr Walton. "What would Miss Hester say?" "My sister is not so very dreadful as perhaps you think her. I think I know something of this child's father. There will be no opposition on the part of the relatives. But I warn you I will call again very soon. Then I won't stay longer now. it turned out in the end. "I will think it over. however." And there was a tremor in the old lady's voice more of disappointment and hurt than of anger. I've seen him often. I thought that such changes might take place as would render the trial of such a new relationship desirable. I found that he was now as unwilling to part with the boy as he had formerly disliked the sight of him. I am sorry to say I don't know much good of him. but must keep it for a possible future. as. having a belief that the circumstances of one's natal position are not to be rudely handled or thoughtlessly altered. I fear I shall object for one.

that's paid out. perhaps. The usual. Old Rogers?" "Well. that those were the very words Old Rogers used. So I must just let it go by the run. I have. he's badly. it ain't. as how you would be ready to take me up short for mentionin' of the thing." "Well. There's summat on his mind. followed. for he was ready to die for me! Ah! love does indeed make us all each other's keeper. greetings having passed between them. as I may say. I mean. But that doesn't signify to what I want to say. you know." said Weir. only in the same mode in which I heard them." A heathenish expression. Have ye heard of him to-day?" "Yes. though we're not gentlefolks--leastways. I wouldn't ha' opened my mouth to you about parson-- leastways. I'm none. there's summat the matter wi' parson?" "Overworked." persisted Rogers. "Well. "But what CAN we do?" returned Weir. and had to see them both safe over. the plan of relating either those things only at which I was present. Mr Weir. I don't see yet what business that is of yours or mine either. then. But that's not what I mean. entirely as yet. you and me's two old fellows. as nearly as I can guess. and hope the parson. Mr Weir. would forgive me if he did. in that way. within the same day. Leaving the expression aside. Old Rogers?" "Why. There." "I'm no nearer your meanin' yet. I do. "It don't seem easy to say no how. 294 . now--leastways I'm a deal older than you." "Well. "I'm not so sure o' that. I'd go to Davie Jones for that man." "But what way DO you mean. besides." And here Old Rogers stuck fast--according to Weir's story." returned Weir. and in bed. Mr Weir. we knows about it. will the reader think for a moment on the old man's reasoning? My condition WAS his business. I'm sorry to hear. who'll never know. what DO you mean. ye see. He's got a bad cold. Old Rogers turned into Thomas Weir's workshop. Years passed before some of the following facts were reported to me. but it is only here that they could be interesting to my readers. Mr Weir." "Suppose he was. I don't think it's for you or me to meddle with parson's mind. "But if I had thought. what is it?" "It's my opinion that that parson o' ours--you see. Old Rogers said-- "Don't you think. Old Rogers. yes. about his in'ards. At the very time Miss Crowther was with me." "Now. I think. "Well. if other things. on the present occasion somewhat melancholy. but Weir assured me. "He's lost two. just as we were intended to be. I means this--as how parson's in love." said Old Rogers. with much amusement in his tone." "Well." returned Weir. I will now depart from this plan--for once. or. in these memoirs.

" "On no account. and I don't want either of you to read it." "Small to me!" said Weir. giving it to Rogers." "I'll be back in a minute. Old Rogers. me wi' my plane. Old Rogers now saw that there was more in it than he had thought. who was lying dead down the street." returned Rogers. Parson ought to know best what he's about. "There. But he was not gone many minutes. a constant recourse with him when agitated. Mr Weir. seeing the parson has already pleaded guilty." "Well. and went out of the workshop. I know. or you wi' your fancies. he left the shop again. which particulars I do not care to lay in a collected form before my reader. Old Rogers. "I can't read hand o' write. man. And so my poor affairs were talked of over the coffin-planks. "Supposing all you say. he being in no need of such a summing up to give his verdict. what makes lasses take to writin' is when their young man's over the seas." "Belay there. I mean--and that's parson? It may seem a small matter to you. when we're talkin' about parson. but it's no small matter to parson. and taking the letter from Rogers's hand. and held his peace and waited." remarked Thomas. that he was busy with a coffin for his daughter. ha' you nothing to say now--not for your best friend--on earth. leastways not in the mill over the brook." He then laid down his plane. leaving Rogers standing there in bewilderment." said Rogers. After a minute or two of fierce activity. "I don't yet see what WE'VE got to do with it. with his head bent. emphatically "That's not what I gave it you for. "You should have come to the point a little sooner." Weir made no reply. who I'd think was takin' the greatest liberty. what have you to say? Though if it's offence to parson you're speakin' of. NOW. When he had finished. and was silent so long. this here's a serious business. Well. that Rogers grew impatient. well. "that Miss Oldcastle has no mind to marry Captain Everard." he said. Perhaps he was the less inclined to listen to the old man. And she thinks if parson would only speak out he might have a chance. Here goes." "But my daughter tells me. for. I meant no offence. "I tell you what. 295 . Thomas lifted up a face more white than the deal board he was planing. Old Rogers. it was no bad omen. "Well. Neither you nor parson has any right to read that letter. and taking up his tool. to prove that his suspicion as to the state of my mind was correct." returned Thomas. he began to plane furiously. Can Jane read writing?" "I don't know as she can. He returned with a letter in his hand. and hearken. if I were parson. And it seems to me it's not shipshape o' you to go on with that plane o' yours." So Old Rogers went into as many particulars as he thought fit." said Thomas. "I ha' enough ado with straight-foret print But I'll take it to parson. and said. you see.

It was not till she had to wait on her mistress before leaving her for the night that she found an opportunity of giving it into her own hands. Thomas. Then when her bell rang." "I will. but thank God the sun came out a bit before she died. It's all right. and she must give it into her own hands. and the dead bodies were laid aside in the ancient wardrobe of the tomb. however. And I must have it again. which comes to us all when we witness trouble--for giving seems to mean everything-brought to her mind the letter she had undertaken to deliver to her. You've had a troubled life. and old Mrs Tomkins on the other side of the path. He returned once more with the letter sealed up in an envelope. I was too unwell still either to be able to bury my dead out of my sight or to comfort my living the next Sunday. anyhow." I know that. Her face. Old Rogers?" "I will. It's for Miss Oldcastle. though I grumbled long and sore. namely. she started and sat up. Rogers gave his daughter the letter. the longing to give her something." "I'll tell you some day what's in it. and tried to look like herself. But she can't know anythink in the letter now. Jane had all but forgotten the letter. was so pitiful." "No. And poor Kate ain't right out o' hearin' yet. Now she had no notion. however. but she hoped it might divert her thoughts for a moment. from ME. But when she saw her cry. that honest-hearted Jane could not help crying." "Yes. I got help from Addicehead. On Sunday. Mind you tell her all that. I do think. Jane went up to her room. Catherine where I had found young Tom lying.--You'll come and see her buried to-morrow. That she shan't. and let no one else see it. But when Jane entered. and she cried too. They were both buried by my vestry-door. of the import of which she had no idea. Old Rogers. Can you trust Jane not to go talking about it?" "I think I can. in the grave of her mother. I ought to. that the letter had anything to do with her present perplexity. for her father had taken care to rouse no suspicions in her mind. but Marshmallows is a talkin' place. She had thrown herself back on the couch. But I can't bear to talk about it yet" And so they parted. which is all that love at a distance can look for sometimes. And you're to have it again all safe when done with. Mr Weir. Rogers. upon which the responsive sisterhood overcame the proud lady. But Jane mustn't speak of that letter. and she carried it to the Hall." "That's true. with her hands lying by her sides. as I have said. 296 . and found her so pale and haggard that she was frightened. won't ye. addressed to Miss Oldcastle. you tell your Jane to give that to Miss Oldcastle from me-- mind. as if she cared for nothing in this world or out of it. "Now. and no one else to know on't.

and her eyes glowing like fire." "Heigho!" exclaimed Mrs Oldcastle with spread nostrils. The moment her mother had finished the letter. Ethelwyn rose. and thrust it between the bars. with such an expression on her countenance that absolute fear drove her from the room before she knew what she was about. fiercer than ever. but when she had finished it. upon Jane. But it was too late. Then a sudden flash broke from her eyes. miss. snatched the letter out of her hand. notwithstanding her self-command. "Here is a letter. there was colour in that dead white face. tearing the letter as she went. She lingered by the door and listened. and she was surprised by Mrs Oldcastle. "Mother. "that Mr Weir the carpenter gave to my father to give to me to bring to you. who remembered the injunctions of her father as to the safety and return of the letter. and advancing to meet her. and in a tone of rage under powerful repression. began:-- "You leave the house--THIS INSTANT. The locking of the door behind her let her know that she had abandoned her young mistress to the madness of her mother's evil temper and disposition. and in came Mrs Oldcastle." "What is it about. if not in a listening attitude." said Jane. at least where she had no right to be after the dismissal she had received. and threw the letter from her into the middle of the floor. Jane said. and she held out her hand eagerly to take it. "The wretch. she heard nothing. Jane?" she asked listlessly. And she came from the fire towards Jane. her cheeks were crimson. her face getting more still and stony as she read. but I WILL NOT. but beyond an occasional hoarse tone of suppressed energy. and muttering-- "A vile forgery of those low Chartist wretches! As if he would ever have looked at one of THEIR women! A low conspiracy to get money from a gentleman in his honourable position!" And for the first time since she went to the Hall. said. Jane. she walked swiftly to the fire. stooped to pick it up: but had hardly raised herself when the door opened." she said. She opened it and read it with changing colour. You may do what you please with me. The moment she saw her mother. pushing it in fiercely with the poker. She opened and read it. She turned once more. Miss Oldcastle stood and looked at her mother with cheeks now pale but with still flashing eyes. who stood trembling near the door. 297 ." The last two words. rose to a scream. I will NOT marry that man. At length the lock--as suddenly turned. and turning suddenly upon Jane.

Jane told her how she came there. It was not till the morning that she examined the door. Meantime all she could do for her was to hand her a loaf of bread on a stick from the next window. Mrs Oldcastle gave her a violent push." said Jane. Instead of speaking to Jane. "Let me out. was spent in sound sleep. however. leaving it behind her. 298 . Opposite Miss Oldcastle's bedroom was another. It had been long dark before some one unlocked the door. As soon as she had told him the story. "The door's locked. seldom used. and left her at liberty to go where she pleased. At length. the door of which was now standing open. he came straight to me. escaped to her father. and the cook promised to get her out as soon as she could. hearing a step in the passage. she packed her box. But she found it was of no use: the lock was at least as strong as the door. Jane spent the whole of the night in that room. but found there was no key. as her parents' child ought to be. she tapped gently at the door and called. Unable to find her young mistress. to see if she could not manage to get out and escape from the house. she made no noise. Thereupon she shut the door and locked it. part of which. but waited patiently for what might come." The cook tried. of which she did not fail to make immediate use. But she heard no noise all the rest of the night. for Jane's conscience was in no ways disturbed as to any part she had played in the current events. the White Wolf. "Who's there?" The cook's voice answered. and. which drove her into this room. for she shared with the rest of the family an indescribable fear of Mrs Oldcastle and her confidante. Being a sensible girl and self- possessed. in no small degree of trepidation as to what might happen next.

and so stood silent--my chest feeling like an empty tomb that waited for death to fill it." "Come. "They are killing auntie. CHAPTER XXXII . In a moment more we were in the open air. "Tell me. Judy!" I said. wouldn't I have been off like a shot! Do get your hat. Judy. A pale half- moon hung in the sky. I was too frightened to put any more questions. she will. Everybody is frightened at her but me. I offered Judy my arm." "Did she send you." said the child. with an odour of damp earth. Mr Walton. and we walked on without a word till we had got through the village and out upon the road. though I had not yet the smallest idea how it was to be effected. I will go at once. and will not leave her room." "Yes. in the twilight of that same day. for there was wind in the heavens. but she took my hand. and a hint of green buds in it. She did not send me. then?" "No. If you loved her as much as I do. THE NEXT THING. Mr Walton. And what will become of auntie then?" "But what can her mother do to her?" 299 . and I begin to be frightened too." "But she will not let me do anything for her. again bursting into tears. She looked about the room with a quick glance to see that we were alone. Judy. Judy. and burst out crying. then caught my hand in both of hers." I said at last. then. It was a still night. She looks like a ghost already. Grannie must have frightened her dreadfully. But I am sure she will die.--Shall I see her?" And every vein throbbed at the thought of rescuing her from her persecutors. and Judy entered. She says you promised to help her some day. "Now. authoritatively. If it had been me now. "Why. what CAN I do for her?" "You must find out. the door was hurriedly opened. you exact people! You must have everything square and in print before you move. and spoke. "tell me what they are doing to your aunt?" "I don't know what they are doing. "what IS the matter?" But the sobs would not allow her to answer. you would find out what to do. As I sat in my study. now and then hidden by the clouds that swept across it. At length with a strong effort she checked the succession of her sobs. "We will talk about that as we go." said Judy." "Then how--what--what can I do!" "Oh. though upon earth all was still." "Is she ill?" "She is as white as a sheet.

All my dubitation and distress were gone. so long as she married him. This was what I hoped to strengthen her to do. I will leave you there. As I have said before. "That's as you and I think. I haven't seen her all day. if left at her mercy. although what I could not yet tell. though grannie never lets her have more than five shillings in her pocket at a time. for I had something to do." "Then I will tell her so. I daresay he would not care much more than grannie whether she was willing or not. They will be at dinner--the captain and grannie." "But. I think it is her determination to have her own way that makes auntie afraid she will get it somehow. else I should almost fancy she was starving herself to death to keep clear of that Captain Everard. I saw plainly enough that no greater good could be done for her than this enabling to resistance." I said. more than you can think. I know how much I can do. but was utterly without weapons. Auntie can't eat what Sarah brings her. And there was a danger of her conduct and then of her mind giving way at last. from the gradual inroads of weakness upon the thews which she left unexercised. But from what I knew of Miss Oldcastle." "Is he still at the Hall?" "Yes. perhaps with some discontent in my tone." I was now perfectly collected. Mr Walton. But I don't think it is altogether his fault. I will take you to the little room up-stairs--we call it the octagon. and I know the very sight of her is enough to turn auntie sick almost. I leave myself in your hands. I am sure." "Very well. and tell auntie that you want to see her. I do. and you must arrange the rest with her. In respect of this." "Nothing can make her worth more than she is. she was clad in the mail of endurance. I saw nothing more within my reach as yet. to be sure. Mr Walton?" "Yes. Judy. Judy. Judy. and that she had as yet resisted her mother was also plain. That you know is just under auntie's room. I prayed heartily that I might help her. and the servants are whispering together more than usual. Then there is no one allowed to wait on her but Sarah. that it needed a sense of duty to rouse her even to self-defence.---" "Don't you want to see her. not as grannie and the captain think at all. Grannie won't let him go. We have to find that out." "But. What has become of Jane I don't know. "I don't know. I don't believe he knows how determined auntie is not to marry him. 300 ." "Of course. Only. else my coming will be of no use. she will be worth something when she is married. That she did not love Captain Everard was plain. we must have some plan laid before we reach the Hall. and she says now she will rather die than marry Captain Everard. Self-assertion was so foreign to her nature." "But will she come to me?" "I don't know. though it was not equally certain that she would. go on to resist her.

went to my heart and gave me strength. Suddenly from out of the dark a hand settled on my arm. Judy took me by the hand. "I am selfishness itself to speak to you thus now. you ought not to have come to me. But ere I ceased came a revulsion of feeling. a voice said brokenly. Will you come home to my sister? Or I will take you wherever you please. all I have will save you--" "But I am saved already. She led me to a seat at the farther end. Mr Walton? But you're trembling. While I stood there I could not help thinking of Dr Duncan's story. Before I could speak. As the trembling increased. I looked up and could just see the whiteness of a face. it will make you sure that if all I am. to take advantage of your misery to make you listen to mine. At last I said: "There is no time now but for action. There I sat so long that I fell into a fit of musing. left me in the dark. It was fastened. I found myself beginning to tremble all over." "I will go with you anywhere you think best. And I know that she did not draw her hand from mine when I said so. and we will settle all about it as we go." I said. but I held her." "Put on your bonnet. and Judy told me to wait till she went in and opened it. At length I got so restless and excited that only the darkness kept me from starting up and pacing the room. "Forgive me. Only take me away. I stood holding her hand. Her words. then. Judy and I scarcely spoke to each other from the moment we entered the gate till I found myself at a side door which I had never observed till now." She had scarcely left the room when Mrs Oldcastle came to the door. you are ill. and led me along a passage. The moon was now quite obscured. 301 . But. partly from hope deferred. at least. broken ever by startled expectation. and I was under no apprehension of discovery. and partly from weakness. conscious only of God and her. and then up a stair into the little drawing-room." And she moved to go. and reflecting that the daughter was now returning the kindness shown to the mother. "if you love me--for I love you. Still she did not come. All my trembling was gone in a moment. Nor do I see anything but to go with me at once. and I stepped into the dark house. There was no light. in a half-whisper:-- "WILL you save me. I will get you something. What I said I do not know. and a warm cloak. but I know that I told her I loved her. Still she did not come. Castle after castle I built up." she interposed. I had not to wait long before the door opened behind me noiselessly. and opening a door close beside me. The suppressed feelings of many months rushed to my lips. Nor could I control myself." And for some moments there were no words to speak. I grew alarmed lest I should become unable to carry out all that might be necessary. so careful of me even in her deep misery. castle after castle fell to pieces in my hands.

I went and fetched him. "---and to be sitting in my room in the dark too!" "That couldn't be helped. "Here I" am. grannie. and Aunt Ethelwyn is going out with him for a long walk. We could now see each other. for although I sometimes see her look roguish even now that she is a middle-aged woman with many children." "Yes." "Sarah. Captain Everard entered. but stood silent. I must take her in hand. She on her part did not flinch. that Mr Walton insists upon seeing her at once. you silly child ?" "I mean what I say. but to me. Mr Walton WAS wanted--very much wanted." said her voice. "No lights here!" she said. Mrs Oldcastle. ma'am. bowed slightly. I tell you that. Judy." But Mrs Oldcastle went on unheeding." said Mrs Oldcastle. too. bring candles." began Mrs Oldcastle. for to announce yourself to a lady by a voice out of the darkness of her boudoir. "Mr Walton. I do think. In a few moments. To you. to come to the octagon room. "ask Captain Everard to be kind enough to step this way. Here comes Sarah with candles. Where can that little Judy be? The child gets more and more troublesome. I did not know she was in the room till I heard her voice." she said. when anything is said which might be supposed to have a possible reference to that night." "What do you mean." 302 . and looked to Mrs Oldcastle as if for an explanation. But I was helped out of the beginning into the middle of my difficulties. with an untranslatable look at me as she set down the candles. indignantly. but returned my look with one both haughty and contemptuous. that I was waiting for Miss Oldcastle." and "Miss Judy speaks the truth. "will you explain to Captain Everard to what we owe the UNEXPECTED pleasure of a visit from you?" "Captain Everard has no claim to any explanation from me. So mind. had you asked me. or to wait for candles to discover you where she thought she was quite alone--neither is a pleasant way of presenting yourself to her consciousness. Knowing words to be but idle breath. when he will join us. "Sarah." I had been in great perplexity how to let her know that I was there. I have never cared to ask her." "Pray inform Miss Oldcastle. And Mr Walton is here. Nor do I yet know how much she had heard of the conversation between her aunt and myself." fell together from her lips and mine. grannie. I would have answered. grannie. I would not complicate matters by speech. "I beg your pardon. "it is scarcely like a gentleman to come where you are not wanted---" Here Judy interrupted her. regarding Mrs Oldcastle." answered Sarah. "Mr Walton. once more by that blessed little Judy. "But I won't be taken in hand by you or any one else. Whereupon she spoke. and tell Captain Everard.

She walked towards the door beside me.--She knew her mother too well to be caught by the change in her tone. Seeing how things were. and stood fronting the enemy with me. and her cheek as red as a peony. with attempted nonchalance. I stepped between her and it. I COMMAND you. I put my other arm between her and her daughter. 303 . "do not disgrace yourself. evidently prepared to do battle a toute outrance for her friends. the door behind me opened. indicating a bluish darkening of the whiteness. "Miss Oldcastle." Still keeping himself entrenched in the affectation of a supercilious indifference. and she approached as if to remove her hand from my arm. he smiled haughtily." said that lady. Judy was on my right. then. Ethelwyn." said Captain Everard." said her mother. mother. My heart was uplifted more than I can say. People will talk to your prejudice--and Mr Walton's too. She was always white. catrying a small bag in her hand." "So much the worse for my cloth. for she was not one to be checked when she chose to speak. the moment she entered. her eyes flashing. seeming to have cast off all her weakness." "I would rather spend the night in the open air than pass another under your roof. Miss Oldcastle will never more do anything in obedience to your commands. You have been a strange mother to me--and Dorothy too!" "At least do not put your character in question by going in this unmaidenly fashion. He advanced with a long stride of determination. she put her hand on my arm. That is the way to Miss Oldcastle's room. as I have said: the change I can describe only by the word I have used." "Allow me to remark. and I understood her. and Miss Oldcastle appeared in her bonnet and shawl.--She was now as collected as I was. "that that is strange doctrine for your cloth. "and the better for yours if it leads you to act more honourably. Mrs Oldcastle. "At least. "No. of course. I had not hitherto interrupted her once when she took the answer upon herself. go to your room instantly. only looked at me. "That is quite unnecessary." I said. by leaving the house in this unaccountable manner at night and on foot." I answered. and gave a look of dramatic appeal to Mrs Oldcastle. Mrs Oldcastle turned slightly livid with wrath. "Pardon me. But ere he reached me. whatever she may do in compliance with your wishes. I am here to protect her. But now she answered nothing." Without saying a word she turned and looked at Captain Everard." I said. wait at least till tomorrow. If you WILL leave the protection of your mother's roof." Ethelwyn smiled. Mrs Oldcastle. "You have lost all a mother's rights by ceasing to behave like a mother. Miss Oldcastle will be here presently.

" she screamed. I stand on my rights. and I will say nothing. Captain Everard. Insult me as you will. lifting his hand. Mrs Oldcastle's demeanour changed utterly." I answered. before it will be out of their power." "Have you. She made a spring at her daughter. "Because she has so far ceased to be a woman as to torture her own daughter. Ethelwyn?" "I have not. Call me coward." "You presume on your cloth. "and I will not return your blow." "This lady has jilted me.-- "The riot-act ought to be read. "Our side will disperse if you will only leave room for us to go." "Well put. "and I WILL be obeyed. "You may strike me. and she let go her hold." But she kept her grasp. and so does another who trusted you and found you false as hell." As if she had never suspected that such was the result of her scheming. presuming on my cloth. "Twenty-seven. Go to your room." It was either conscience or something not so good that made a coward of him. But lay one hand on me to prevent me from doing my duty. The form of her visage was altered. saying. you lie. I trust." answered Miss Oldcastle." "Then." said Miss Oldcastle. Mrs Oldcastle." "You dare to tell me so?" And he strode a pace nearer." I said. It is time for the military to interfere. "They will hardly have time to do so. Captain Everard. How old are you. as to think you have the slightest hold on your daughter's freedom? Let her arm go. and I knock you down--or find you more of a man than I take you for." "Say on." Here Captain Everard stepped forward. It rests with Miss Oldcastle herself to say when that shall be." "There is no law human or divine to prevent her from marrying whom she will. "How dare you touch a woman?" she said. He turned on his heel. "Then I forbid it. and I will bear it. I know you too well. "You hurt me. 304 . but--" he said. "Is it possible you can be so foolish. mother. and seized her by the arm." "Possibly I may have something to say in the matter. I think. you minx. Ethelwyn?" I thought it better to seem even cooler than I was. "Hurt you? you smooth-faced hypocrite! I will hurt you then!" But I took Mrs Oldcastle's arm in my hand. "It needs no daring.

after all." "How dare you give orders in my house?" exclaimed Mrs Oldcastle. and that you'll both know before long." "No. I gave her in charge to my sister. "From this moment she is no daughter of mine. You may take the girl for me. Captain Everard. "No." "Thy money perish with thee!" I said. I shall not hear from you. threw her arms round her aunt's neck. which gradually drew away from her. You know you dare not write to me. Then assuming the heroic. sir. It was a last effort to detain her daughter and gain time. as we left the house and closed the door behind us. But we had not gone many paces from the house when Miss Oldcastle began to tremble violently. Both your cloth and the presence of ladies protect your insolence. but I would not permit her. ring the bell for Sarah. and sunk fainting on a chair. I know that of you which. and could scarcely get along with all the help I could give her. Judy bounded after us. "she will be better without you. would justify any gentleman in refusing to meet you. For all that time she was quite unable to bear it. she was the mother of my Ethelwyn. As we reached the door. Nor. Judy. kissing us both. for. 305 . He drew back. for the space of six weeks did one word pass between us about the painful occurrences of that evening." I said. The moon was shining from the edge of a vaporous mountain. while I went for Dr Duncan. Stand out of my way!" I advanced with Miss Oldcastle on my arm. even on the code of the duellist. You shall hear from me before long. Nor can you touch one farthing of her money. and I know I had no correspondent feeling. When we managed at last to reach the vicarage. You have married a beggar after all. I do not like brawling where one cannot fight. The cool wind greeted us like the breath of God. It sounded like an imprecation. Miss Oldcastle would have returned. sitting bolt upright in the chair. and repented the moment I had said it. leaving her alone in the midst of a lake of blue. and shaking her fist at us. and returned to her place on the sofa. Mr Walton. with instructions to help her to bed at once. "I really am not sufficiently interested in the affair to oppose you. then round mine. and we left the room. Mrs Oldcastle gave a scream. that the words burst from me ere I could consider their import. she added. But the allusion to money made me so indignant.

your craft 'll miss stays. but if you don't stand to your halliards. which was not very definite. Dr Duncan was hardly out of the house when Old Rogers arrived. and I am as glad of it as I could be of anything I can think of. In a few words I told him." I suspect there was some confusion in the figure." "I fear she will be ill. without interruption."You have fairly won her. I don't understand you. a great fear seized upon me that I was destined to lose her after all. Mr Walton. We ain't aboard ship here with a nor'-easter a-walkin' the quarter-deck. asking twenty questions about the particulars which I hurried over. She is well worth all you must have suffered." I said. I could oftener feel able to say. I allowed him to tell out his story. "Thy will be done" than I could before. to do anything. As soon as I heard Dr Duncan's opinion of her. It's right to trust in God. though. which was his daughter's of course. you really must do summat. "What house. He ended by saying:-- "Now. terrible as it was. "Well. saying-. "Miss Oldcastle is in the house." He was taken aback. He looked excited. did not torture me like the fear that had preceded it. however. "after all that she has gone through. "This house. sir?" returned the old man." But I did not even suspect how ill she would be. CHAPTER XXXIII . Nor would I keep him in a moment more of suspense. This won't do in a Christian country." I said. his gray eyes opening wider as he spoke. Old Rogers. and your faith 'll be blown out of the bolt-ropes in the turn of a marlinspike. This fear. Walton. You're the last man I'd have expected to hear argufy for faith without works. Then he shook me warmly by the hand." 306 . and was shown into the study. my dear old fellow. This will at length remove the curse from that wretched family. as we went. You have saved her from perhaps even a worse fate than her sister's. but the old man's meaning was plain enough. I found the old man seated at his dinner." "There's no occasion. OLD ROGERS'S THANKSGIVING. to which he listened with the interest of a boy reading a romance. sir. the story of what had befallen at the Hall. which he left immediately when he heard that Miss Oldcastle needed his help. to be sure.

And what I must do then. when he thought he was near to the world of which we speak: I rehearse now. he rose." he returned. sir. and second. some very lovable and some hard to love. except they read it. I have these defences: first. I shall be made thy music.--"But you are not there yet. And I wish you a good night. friend." I answered. or as clothed in the coat of darkness of an anonymous writer. that even should they trample them under their feet. I thank God for the good we shall all get from the trouble you have gone through. and then scoff at what seemed and seems to me the precious story. and if they do not care. But I only do as Dr Donne did in writing that poem in his sickness. It is not merely that I am speaking. that I may find it easier then. took my hand. who will listen to my story with a more gracious interest than that old man showed as I recounted to him the adventures of the evening. "I believe I've allus been the better for any trouble as ever I had to go through with. but I find that. Thank God! again. the most educated and responsive. How then am I able to tell it to the world as now? I can easily explain the seeming inconsistency. as he returned inward thanks to the Father of all for His kindness to his friend. that it was not for them that I cast forth my precious pearls. for I have only been as clay in the hands of the potter. I feel towards them more and more as the children of my Father in heaven." 307 . Even should they. You are in the land in which the brother speaketh evil of that which he understandeth not. who made my history as it seemed and was good to Him. with the choir of saints for evermore. or unfit to listen to the story even of my love. I considei trouble the best luck a man can have. leastways. the nearer I come to the region beyond. from behind a screen. the more I feel that in that land a man needs not shrink from uttering his deepest thoughts. Where. "You WILL be the better for it. and although some of them are good children and some naughty children. "Since I am coming to that holy room. think here before."--True. There were few to whom I could have told them: to Old Rogers I felt that it was right and natural and dignified to tell the story even of my love's victory. all my brothers and sisters grow dearer and dearer to me. And more. for precious to me is the significance of every fact in my history-- not that it is mine. as I come nearer and nearer to the invisible world. I tune the instrument here at the door. you WILL preach now. they cannot well get at me to rend me. but that it is God's. and said:-- "Mr Walton." "I ought to be the better for it. And never in my now wide circle of readers shall I find one. if they only care to listen. I couldn't quite say the same for every bit of good luck I had. as I come. yet I never feel that they are below me. or the reality given to it by the ordinarily odd sailor-fashion of pulling his forelock. there is no harm done. too true." When Rogers had thanked God. as I have said before. inasmuch as he that understands them not will not therefore revile him. I shall never forget the look the old man cast upwards.

and a certain carelessness of outward success even in spiritual matters. so far as the success affected me. He never even hinted at such a fact. and when I find that thus my own heart is warmed. but I think a man may sometimes get spiritual good without being conscious of the point of its arrival. do you? You shouldn't be pleased at what's come to me now. 308 . sir. A man has often to be humbled through failure." I labour simply to make the people see in it what I see in it. even although my heart was full of fervour during the prayers and lessons. I believe that my failures did work some humility in me. there is no bad luck but what comes out o' the man hisself. you don't mean it would be good for us to have bad luck always. I hardly remember when or how I came upon the plan. that soon after I approached this condition of mind. But you're right. and hence speaking out of a full heart in testimony of that which he hath known and seen. a dull clearness of the intellectual faculties took its place. I began to preach better. I do not clearly know how my failures worked upon me. or the depressing effect of Miss Oldcastle's illness coming so close upon the joy of winning her. Good luck or bad luck's both best when HE sends 'em. that bad luck is the best luck?" "I mean the bad luck that comes to us--not the bad luck that doesn't come. and. provided only the will of God was done in the dishonour of my weakness." But whether it was the consequence of a reaction from the mental strain I had suffered. and I was painfully aware that what I could speak without being moved myself was not the most likely utterance to move the feelings of those who only listened. The rest's all good. I turn away from any attempt to produce a sermon. in that case. Rogers. And I think." "How can you say. taking up one of the sayings of our Lord which He himself has said "are spirit and are life. I am justified in the hope that the hearts of some at least of my hearers are thereby warmed likewise. or being able to trace the process by which it was wrought in him. but I felt it much myself. then. sir. or that I was more careless and less anxious to do my duty than I ought to have been--I greatly fear that Old Rogers must have been painfully disappointed in the sermons which I did preach for several of the following Sundays. nay." "No. as He allus does. no sooner had I begun to speak than the glow died out of the sky of my thoughts. but now. "But. But still I found for some time that however much the subject of my sermon interested me in my study or in the church or vestry on the Saturday evening. but I am not sure. sartinly not. Still a man may occasionally be used by the Spirit of God as the inglorious "trumpet of a prophecy" instead of being inspired with the life of the Word. In fac'. especially after success. as often as I find myself in such a condition. sir.

My design had been to go at once to London and make preparation for as early a wedding as she would consent to. Mr Walton? I should have thought that a bad conscience was one that would let a girl go on anyhow and say nothing about it to make her uncomfortable. Possibly the strong reaction paralysed their channels. Her whole complaint appeared in excessive weakness. and although he gave me all the encouragement he could. So the dear child always came to me in the study. Judy. Judy came often to the vicarage. "that there was no occasion to tell her. But Miss Oldcastle was unable to see her any more than myself without the painful consequence which I have mentioned. "How does she bear it?" "Bear what. she set my mind at rest on that subject. But as the summer approached she began to show signs of reviving life. and had been doubtful whether I ought not to hive carried her off as well as her aunt. which was the next day. I left her for four weeks entirely to my sister and Dr Duncan. and thus prevented her gladness from reaching her physical nature so as to operate on its health. For she had no fears whatever about her aunt's recovery. but the very day after I brought her home. Finding that she fainted after every little excitement. and through her endless vivacity infected me with some of her hope. During her aunt's illness. I wonder?" she added. during which time she never saw me. but the first time she came. Mr Walton?" "The loss of your aunt. Mr Walton. Nor did the sudden change seem able to restore the healthy action of what the old physicians called the animal spirits. do you! She's vexed enough at the loss of Captain Everard.--Do you know. looking archness itself." "Why do you call it a bad conscience. "So well." "I fear he hadn't had quite enough to give him courage. and by the end of May was able to be wheeled into the garden in a chair. Dr Duncan looked very grave. all his encouragement did not amount to much. I daresay he was brave enough once. There was such a lack of vitality about her! The treatment to which she had been for so long a time subjected had depressed her till life was nearly quenched from lack of hope. Why shouldn't I rebel as well as Aunt Wynnie. But no doubt the fact that the life of Miss Oldcastle seemed to tremble in the balance. and it was long before I could venture to stay in her room more than a minute or two. "But does your grannie know where you are come?" I had asked her. or he wouldn't have made quite such a fool of himself. I think he had too much wine yesterday. I had had some painful apprehensions as to the treatment Judy herself might meet with from her grandmother." sne replied. life and not marriage was the question. had something to do with those results of which I may have already said too much." "You don't think grannie cares about that." 309 . but a bad conscience soon destroys a man's courage.

And you shouldn't tempt me to run away from her like auntie." "Indeed. Her naivete. 310 . and the smile flitting about her mouth. And to this day Judy has never heard how her old grannie treated her mother. she won't speak a word to Sarah even." And Judy did not leave her as long as she lived. I don't want you to leave her." "Are you not afraid of her locking you up some day or other?" "Not a bit of it. certainly. a quarrel took place between her and Sarah. Grannie won't touch me. I'm certain. Judy. how does Mrs Oldcastle bear it?" "You asked me that already. I won't. and I don't believe anybody loves her but me--not Sarah. The old lady would see neither doctor nor parson. Grannie is a naughty old lady." "But you said she was vexed: how do you know that?" "Because ever since the captain went away this morning. that is the worst kind of conscience. and I won't leave her. "You are quite right. whatever you may say about her. nor would she hear of sending for her daughter. But tell me. Before that time came." Somehow Judy's words always seem more pert upon paper than they did upon her lips. When she learns it now from these pages I think she will be glad that she did not know it before her death. Therefore I can't leave her. which quarrel I incline to regard as a hopeful sign. "--Grannie never says a word about you or auntie either. No one can tell how mucn good it may have done her before she died--though but a few years passed before her soul was required of her. along with the reflection that the only friend she had was the child of that marriage which she had persecuted to dissolution. And the old lady's love to that child was at least one redeeming point in her fierce character. the twinkling light in her eyes. always modified greatly the expression of her words. Mr Walton. Perhaps the thought of her dying child came back upon her. Judy. The only sign of softening that she gave was that once she folded her granddaughter in her arms and wept long and bitterly. however.

It was to me a day awful in its gladness. and facts in the history both of myself and individuals of my flock. save they be accompanied and in part. to fear the name of God-- to leave these considerations aside. while I reserve for a more occasional and fragmentary record many things in the way of experience. which admit of. My reader will perceive that this part of my story is drawing to a close. it derives its chief significance from accompanying conflict within. I must gather up the ends of my thread. in which my wife was quite ready to assist me. It embraces but a brief period of my life. no man's life is fit for representation as a work of art save in proportion as there has been a significant relation between his outer and inner life. and indeed require. We went for a fortnight into Wales. Therefore I chose the portion in which I had suffered most. She was now quite well. while the outward history is most stirring. and I have plenty more behind not altogether unworthy of record. CHAPTER XXXIV . TOM'S STORY. observation. and in which the outward occurrences of my own life had been most interesting. and dispose them in such a manner that they shall neither hang too loose. occasioned by outward events capable of embodying and elucidating the things that are of themselves unseen. But the portions of any man's life most generally interesting are those in which. It was yet summer when Miss Oldcastle and I were married. a visible outcome of some sort of harmony between them. as the Psalmist says. 311 . But before I close this part of my communications with those whom I count my friends. for the fullest representation. nor yet refuse length enough for what my friend Rogers would call splicing. internal change and tumult can be ill set forth to the reader. I say. It is not the rapid change of events. a more individual treatment than would be altogether suitable to a continuous story. and not to mention the spiritual necessities of our nature--to leave the fact alone that a man is a mere thing of shreds and patches until his heart is united. For man's life ought to be a whole. thought. for till they assure me of the contrary I mean to flatter myself with considering my readers generally as such. or the unusual concourse of circumstances that alone can interest the thoughtful mind. and no shadow hung upon her half-moon forehead. while. on the other hand. at least. and then returned to the vicarage and the duties of the parish.

and they must apply to me when anything went amiss. But I ever found the great difficulty in my dealing with my people to be the preservation of the authority which was needful for service. as she soon did. I simply told the recipients that. And whatever she gave the poor. they were quite at liberty to make a fresh representation of them to me. and our neighbour's condition became ours. after finding out. and that I would distribute it neither according to their fancied merits nor the degree of friendship I felt for them. who. She saw. Had she not constantly refused to be a "judge or a divider. however. if they would at once take the position with regard to the parishioners which Mrs Walton took. Perhaps it would help the wives of some clergymen out of some difficulties. but according to the best judgment I could form as to their necessities. and mostly women. had full scope through me. although the communion offering belonged to them. She never administered the communion offering--that is." she would have been constantly troubled with quarrels too paltry to be referred to me. And at the same time I tried to show them that a very great part of the disputes in the world came from our having a very keen feeling of our own troubles. that she held no office whatever in the parish. found their rights clash in a manner that seldom happened with those that worked in the fields. being at home all day. for if the case was reversed. and not on ecclesiastical or social position. she gave as a private person. who is the servant of all. Their standing in the church accredits their offer of service: the service itself can only be accredited by the Truth and the Lord of Truth. was more likely than they were to arrive at an equitable distribution of the money--upon my principles if not on theirs. Only when any such affair was brought before me. I fear. who earnestly sought it. As soon as I came to know it. out of her own pocket. who knew more about their neighbours than it was likely they did. but not in her own right--in her husband's. This is the case in many country parishes. and be their protection against some reproaches. generally next-door neighbours. And I think some of them got some sense out of what I said. and told them so. that it was a source of endless dispute between some of the recipients. and if any of them thought these were underrated. who regarded it as their common property. and was not prejudiced by the personal regards which they could hardly fail to be influenced by. 312 . At the same time they must ever take heed that their claim to authority be founded on the truth. ten to one our judgment would be reversed likewise. and were never satisfied with what they received. yet the distribution of it rested entirely with me. did she use her good offices to bring about a right feeling between the contending parties. Whatever her counsel could do. but that I. namely. for when the elder serve the younger--and in many cases it is not age that determines seniority--they must not forget that without which the service they offer will fail to be received as such by those to whom it is offered. and a very dull feeling of our neighbour's. that the best thing she could do for them was to help me. and which were the sooner forgotten that the litigants were not drawn on further and further into the desert of dispute by the mirage of a justice that could quench no thirst. that of their servant.

many of the fashionable people in the county began to call upon her--in no small degree to her annoyance. So. As I write I am seated in that little octagonal room overlooking the quarry. I have just finished another sheet. In the same manner she avoided the too near. and the parson's wife who disclaims all connexion with the professional work of her husband. simply from the fact that she and they had so little in common. love. rather than her position in time past. it is her property. and the husband is worthy. although the stair that leads to it is high and steep. Now I hear her door close. while she performed all towards them that etiquette demanded. there is room to fear. For from her probable position in time to come. But it cost both me and my wife some time and some suffering before we learned how to deport ourselves in these respects. the one who will be a mistress receives the greater condemnation. The one who refuses to serve denies her greatest privilege. go on to do the same again. we had begun to reap the benefits of this mode of regarding our duty in the parish as one. But there cannot be many clergymen's wives amongst my readers. and I am sure that long before we had gained the footing we now have. with its green lining of trees. reader. and I may have occupied more space than reasonable with this "large discourse. the position will soon reveal itself. and. are equally out of place in being parsons' wives. When the wife is one with her husband. to every other. She is opening her window. Nor do I object to her preference because there is no ready way to reach it save through this: I see her the oftener. because unprofitable. What shall I end the book with? What shall I tell the friends with whom I have been conversing so often and so long for the last thing ere for a little while I bid them good-bye?" 313 . My wife is not yet too old to prefer the little room in which she thought and suffered so much. and its deep central well. I hear her step overhead now. is yours. The parson's wife who takes to herself authority in virtue of her position. And although I do not like any one to look over my shoulder while I write--it disconcerts me somehow--yet the moment the sheet is finished and flung on the heap. springing from the same source. There it is. as the print. and now her foot is on the stair. "Come in. and tending to the same end. on the ground of the many duties which naturally fell to the parson's wife in a country parish like ours. approaches of a portion of the richer part of the community." I apologize. It is my study now. she excused herself from the closer intimacy which some of them courted.

never mind justifying it. When I was a child. Ethelwyn. or rather. It is. I think." said Ethelwyn." So. there is one face which you can still see the same through all the shadows which years have gathered and heaped upon it. I will go on with it at once. I will tell those who will read. I have got a better way of putting it still: there is one face whose final beauty you can see the mere clearly as the bloom of youth departs. for in it you behold all that you loved before. and it is indecorous to make particular ones. and Tom is coming. The story will." "You are quite right. and you can tell him what you have done. and let you go on without interruption." "Besides." said Ethelwyn. 314 . stay. but it sounds hypocritical to make merely general confessions. I will go away at once. reader. But here is a chance for you. and while she reads. now my wife has left me." "No more I have. veiled. I am ready. "I don't want any justification. although the hair that crowns it is almost white--over the last few sheets. "Now. I meant to do so. do good. but glowing with gathered brilliance under the veil ("Stop one moment. What does it come from in me? Let me see. and not harm. one of the good things that come of being married. Besides." "The more reason to tell it. without seeming to hear what I said. my dear") from which it will one day shine out like the moon from under a cloud. I do think. So if you are inclined. And Ethelwyn bends her smooth forehead--for she has a smooth forehead still. No. "I do not want to have people saying that the vicar has made himself out so good that nobody can believe in him. I doubt if it is good to write much about bad things even in the way of confession---" "Well. I do not think I want to appear better than I am. I will begin. when a stream of the upper air floats it from off her face. What shall I write about next?" "I don't think you have told them anywhere about Tom. well. You had better tell it. that there is one face upon which the changes come without your seeing them. and the loveliness of wisdom and the beauty of holiness take its place. Ethelwyn. But I am ashamed of it. I could always confess best when I hid my face with my hands." "That would be a great fault in my book. It shall not be a long story. But you must not stand there behind me. it is true. You will have it finished before dinner.

to maintain my young friend at Oxford till such time as he gained a fellowship. and I was pretty sure neither he nor his father blamed me at all. when I found that Thomas. I was more than pleased when I discovered. at less expense than most parents suppose to be unavoidable. who was very delicate. from some remark he made. and I found him a great help and comfort. was extraordinary. he came to assist me for a while as curate. and I proceeded to acquaint myself with what he had been doing. and I had begun to arrange my work again. although she could not touch it as long as her mother lived and chose to refuse her the use of it. 315 . But I did not lose a penny by the affair. and continued to do so until he had repaid me every shilling I had spent upon him. and his grandchild too. There were such growing signs of goodness in addition to the uprightness which had first led to our acquaintance. because there was his daughter Mary. I could not blame myself much for this. with which neither of us was inclined to have anything to do. I could not listen. He occupied the large room over his father's shop which had been his grandfather's: he had been dead for some years. however. as no doubt it has been to many a man of humble birth. so far from being unfavourably inclined to the proposal. but I now saw that it was time we should recommence something definite in the way of study. As soon as my wife and I had settled down at home. as I continued to observe him closely. However. which would be nearly sufficient to free the estate from incumbrance. at least without a law-suit. and by means of a judicious combination of experience and what money I could spare. To this. For of the very first money Tom received after he had got his fellowship. I found to my great pleasure that he had made very considerable progress both in Latin and Mathematics. As soon as he was in deacon's orders. was prepared to spend the few savings of his careful life upon his education. as well as come into possession of certain moneys of her own. and soon it came to speech between his father and me. my conviction was deepened that he was rarely fitted for ministering to his fellows. now in the trust of her mother and two gentlemen in London. that he would gladly give himself to the service of the Church. for whom he ought to make what little provision he could. At the same time I felt compelled to be the more cautious in anything I said. and I resolved that I would now push him a little. and his progress. it came to my mind that for a long time I had been doing very little for Tom Weir. that although I carefully abstained from making the suggestion to him. When he came to my house the next morning. from the fact that the prospect of the social elevation which would be involved in the change might be a temptation to him. as it seemed to me. Nor was this all. I felt justified in doing so in part from the fact that some day or other Mrs Walton would inherit the Oldcastle property. he brought the half to me. I therefore took the matter in my own hands. I managed. I found this only brought out his mettle.

a gentle tap came to my door. and Tom supplied me with much of the time which I bestowed upon this object. Wordsworth. Tom?" I asked. my regard rested upon this and that stage through which he had passed to reach his present condition. I am now covered with shame to think how. But I abuse my fault instead of confessing it. but still with a contemptible condescension. I was now engaged on a work which I had been contemplating for a long time. "Miss Walton. But. not of manner but of heart. and other nations. I regarded him rather as of my making than of God's. In fact. Cowper. Italians." rejoined Tom. in looking back. what of her? There's nothing happened to her? She was here a few minutes ago--though. upon the development of the love of Nature as shown in the earlier literature of the Jews and Greeks. into its latest forms in Gray. I took the high-dais-throne over him. sir--" "Well. sir. and Tom entered. with the Anglo-Saxon for a fresh starting-point. Crabbe. when the thing approached myself on that side. I see plainly enough that I thought too much of what I had done for Tom. He looked pale and anxious. sir. "It is not so easy to say. through that of the Romans. Keats. and too little of the honour God had done me in allowing me to help Tom. now I think of it--" Here a suspicion of the truth flashed on me. and I was really grateful to him. "What is the matter. it swept away for the moment all my fine theories about the equality of men in Christ their Head. and there was an uncertainty about his motions which I could not understand. so delicately refined by the innate sophistry of my selfishness. How could Tom Weir. "Say on. "I wanted to say something to you. that the better nature in me called it only fatherly friendship. 316 . and struck me dumb. and did not recognize it as that abominable thing so favoured of all those that especially worship themselves. cheerily. and trying to account to myself for the snare into which I fell. whose father was a joiner." answered Tom. Thomson. dare to propose marrying my sister? Instead of thinking of what he really was. One evening. who had been a lad in a London shop himself. I believe. with a faint smile." I returned. and Tennyson. not consciously.

" 317 ." reasoned the world in me. All that kind of thing is worth nothing in the kingdom. "Not anything exactly wrong. I doubt not. by regarding others thus. all good men and true women. or behind the counters. and judged not righteous judgment. exactly as if he was a Pariah. "is it not too bad to drag your wife in for such an alliance? Has she not lowered herself enough already? Has she not married far below her accredited position in society? Will she not feel injured by your family if she see it capable of forming such a connexion?" What answer I returned to Tom I hardly know. "Come up higher. "It is not possible he has done anything wrong. sisters. I have known good people who were noble and generous towards their so- called inferiors and full of the rights of the race--until it touched their own family. To the learned professions. judged according to appearances in which I did not even believe. Henry. Henry?" she asked. "What is the matter with you. "Only that Weir has been making me rather uncomfortable. the distinction between the shopwomen and milliners is. I have known a good churchwoman who would be sweet as a sister to the abject poor. who had talked like this for years. and just no longer. however. Brothers." I answered. are called LADIES. and left Tom standing there alone." My wife trusted him as much as I did. not much. to consider that." "It must be very nearly wrong. in some alarm. let the Master seat us where He will. having stepped out of the window almost unconsciously. and forget that I too have been scornful. Yea I. with the literary lions who roar at soirees and kettle-drums. In London shops. and met me as I turned a corner in the shrubbery. "For. the young women who serve in the show-rooms. and that he murmured something which I did not heed. lost my faith in the broad lines of human distinction. "Oh. Until he says. to make you look so miserable. for making me tell the story: I will tell her share in it. and nothing will be remembered of us but the Master's judgment." "What has he been doing?" she inquired. when Tom Weir wanted to marry my sister. I remember that the poor fellow's face fell. Wandering about in the garden. or stand behind. they justify those above them in looking down upon them in their turn. And now I am going to have my revenge upon her in a way she does not expect. Perhaps it might do something to modify the scorn of all classes for those beneath them. "No--o--o. It was very good of him ever to forgive me. or even with chiropodists and violin-players! But I am growing scornful at scorn. honoured in waiting upon His guests." let us sit at the foot of the board. unrecognizable. massed by countesses and other blue-blooded realities. from their superior height. and she a Brahmin. at once. and talk of the girls who make up the articles for sale as PERSONS. but offensively condescending to a shopkeeper or a dissenter. I am credibly informed." I answered. And then I found myself walking in the garden under the great cedar. my wife saw me from her window. while doctors and lawyers are again.

at least. "and when I put one thing to another. is his father not a respectable man?" "Oh." My wife laughed merrily. He tries to keep every one of them I do believe. and yet--" "And yet. certainly. I wish my mother had been as good." "Well. I am not going to take it for granted. with you." To this I was not ready with an answer." "Why?" "You know why well enough." "Is he not clever?" "One of the cleverest fellows I ever met" "Is he not a gentleman?" "I have not a fault to find with his manners. you know what I mean quite well. "It might be reasonable if you did though." "That is all true. then?" "None that I know of. and my wife went on. "He has been falling in love with Martha." "Which of the commandments is it in particular that he breaks. His family. "Whal a wicked curate!" "Well. I began to feel ashamed and more uncomfortable." "Then." I said. I think Tom very fortunate in having such a father." "Nor with his ways of thinking?" "No." "Does he bear false witness against his neighbour?" "No. you know. I fear he may have made her fall in love with him too." "He wouldn't borrow money of his tailor instead of paying for his clothes. "No. position outweighs honesty--in fathers." "Well.--But do you know why I would not accept your offer of taking my name when I should succeed to the property?" 318 . would he?" "Certainly not" "And if he were to die to-day he would carry no debts to heaven with him?" "I believe not." "Is he not a well-educated man?" "As well as myself--for his years. Is he not a good man?" "Yes. from fear lest he should turn out like his father. yes. but you know it is not exactly agreeable.--But. He scorns a lie as much as any man I ever knew. Ethelwyn." "Nor with his habits?" my wife went on. Thoroughly respectable." "At least. suppose a young man you liked had had a fashionable father who had ruined half a score of trades-people by his extravagance--would you object to him because of his family?" "Perhaps not. excepting that no one can keep them yet that is only human.

And you avoid that. "I am almost ashamed of you for the first time." "Harry. nor high- minded. to speak the truth of my ancestors to my husband. I know you didn't." I answered. just had not the tone that I had been accustomed to. dear Harry. Would the Mary that poured the ointment on Jesus's head have refused to marry a good man because he was the brother of that Mary who poured it on His feet? Have you thought what God would think of Tom for a husband to Martha?" 319 ." "Ah!" I said. for it shows that his nobility is altogether from within him. I have no doubt you thought me a boor." "But his sister?" "Harry. worldly minded people. "So I did. And that is what I want to show you. But it is quite bad enough to have brought you down to my level." I answered. And you said that was the only true way of thinking about them. And I will punish you by telling you the truth. pure. I suppose Martha has been talking you over to her side. were neither gentle nor honest. though it is not so easy to say what. Harry! You were preaching last Sunday about the way God thinks of things." "Well. to be seen of men. "You said you liked mine better. a little piqued. "I dare say. I must see what force there really was in the notions I had been bred in. who. and you will find that where there is everything personally noble. Do you think I had nothing of that sort to get over when I began to find that I was thinking a little more about you than was quite convenient under the circumstances? Your manners. There was a diffidence about you also that did not at first advance you in my regard. I found that my love to you would not be satisfied with making an exception in your favour." "Dear Harry!" "I beg your pardon. And so I can see more clearly than you into the right of the matter. You looked for a principle in what you had thought was an exception. just carry out the considerations that suggests." "Yes." my wife said. Harry.--Would you hesitate a moment between Tom Weir and the dissolute son of an earl. and good." "Still. with a shade of solemnity." "Now there you are wrong. who wear their good breeding like their fine clothes. you know there is something in it. yes." returned my wife. Harry?" "You know I would not. "I see. as many men's manners are. or as the Pharisee his prayers. simple. though irreproachable. and therefore is his own. Ethelwyn. But I did not tell you that I was ashamed that my good husband should take a name which for centuries had been borne by hard-hearted." "Yes. And the next step was to throw away all false judgment in regard to such things. wifie. without sinking you still lower. "and I soon found one. the lowliness of a man's birth is but an added honour to him. It cannot then have been put on him by education or imitation.

for He at least could see no disgrace in the order of things that His Father had appointed. Lord. sir. how shall I feel if He says to me. It was my wife that brought me to reason about it. rose before me." "God bless her. When I lifted my eyes from the ground." "Amen. and there is ONE Christian in the world at least. He started when he saw me. But still I could not get over it. Come back with me. "Yes. and our Lord had to work miracles to set the things right which he had made wrong! To such a class of mind as invented these fables do those belong who think they honour our Lord when they judge anything human too common or too unclean for Him to have done. my boy. I'm going to find Tom. I am not so good as you think me." I said. the picture so often associated in my mind with such a scene of human labour. than that straining after His glorification in the early centuries of the Church by the invention of fables even to the disgrace of his father! They say that Joseph was a bad carpenter. Thomas.--But what will your good lady say? She's higher-born than you--no offence. 320 . though I was ashamed to follow and find her. And He would receive payment for it too. I do believe you mean in my shop what you say in your pulpit. What was it that drew me towards Thomas Weir's shop? I think it must have been incipient repentance--a feeling that I had wronged the man. And I told him to mind what he was about. I felt as if she were dead. she was gone. and we left the shop together. But just as I turned the corner. and have a walk with my sister. Evidently with a great effort Tom was the first to speak." Thomas Weir held out his hand. "Tom. And Tom is as much a gentleman as I have any claim to be. you shame me. I don't think she'll be sorry to see you. I did not answer. "Now. How infinitely more poetic is the belief that our Lord did His work like any other honest man. "Has Tom told you about it?" I said. 'Didst thou do well to murmur that thy sister espoused a certain man for that in his youth he had earned his bread as I earned mine? Where was then thy right to say unto me." At the same moment Tom entered the shop. sir. I saw the Lord of Life bending over His bench. Lord?'" I hurried into the workshop. and the smell of the wood reached me. sir. fashioning some lowly utensil for some housewife of Nazareth. to punish me for my pride. and you was. And the thought sprung up at once in my mind--"If I ever see our Lord face to face. sir. and looked confused." His face brightened up at once. for he was not a gentleman. I went and got my hat instead." "I hope I am. It is the vulgar mind that looks down on the earning and worships the inheriting of money. and strolled out. for conscience had begun to speak. thinking Ethelwyn stood beside me. with a very melancholy face. I am sorry for it. "I behaved very badly to you." "Ah.

I wish I were. "even to the shame I feel at having needed your reproof. it will be ready to show itself to every one who looks for it. of the external condition of which his daughter takes good care. "It is all right. I see it more plainly than ever I did. how many difficulties my presumption must put you in. My sister is worth twice what she was before. We have many. You are blameless. "But how did you get on so far a-head of me. Tom says there is no such corrective of sectarianism of every kind as the repression of speech and the encouragement of action. but the right influences of truth and honesty. And till that kingdom come. In the kingdom of Heaven nothing else is acknowledged. Take my sister. for he and I agree that." answered my wife. and an evident regard to what God wants of us--not only are they the more easily wrought upon. God gives us all time to come to our right minds. Tom." So to me the message had come first. sir. but my wife had answered first with the deed." I said. while a great part of her brother Tom's time is devoted to the children. And now I have had my revenge on her. the mind and will of God must. Thomas Weir is now too old to work any longer. He is still my curate. and that if it be everywhere at hand in all things taught and done. rather. with those that look for that kingdom. the pastoral care ought to be at least equally divided between the sheep and the lambs. where it can be done. though they have no children. but the sooner do they recognize those influences as right and good. The workshop I have had turned into a school-room. over-ride every other way of thinking. he thinks that there must be just the more acting upon religion." "Not another word about it. For the sooner the children are brought under right influences--I do not mean a great deal of religious speech. and the will of God the law of things. feeling." Tom went to find Martha. Tom has been my greatest comfort for many years. "I know. And besides that action is more powerful than speech in the inculcation of religion. Tom. and be good to her. Next to her and my children. you know. He will look after them. "Why. and I to find Ethelwyn. and judging. "I only told you back again what you have been telling me for the last seven or eight years. in God's name. other considerations may look after themselves--or. He occupies his father's chair in the large room of the old house. If we only act as God would have us. And while Tom quite agrees with me that there must not be much talk about religion." she said. and they have taught me much." "Don't think of that. and I do not think we shall part till death part us for a time. The world will never be right till the mind of God is the measure of things. wifie?" Ethelwyn laughed. 321 .

For the old people have been dead for many years. as I have said already. The old man is all but confined to the chimney-corner now. Jane Rogers was married to young Brownrigg about a year after we were married. But she certainly improves. and think that every day is mouldering away this body of mine till it shall fall a heap of dust into its appointed place. For I hope to hold a little more communion with them ere I go hence. and unspeakably glad in the presence of my God. but some power yet remains. So. and to believe. kind readers. Remember that Truth depends not upon your seeing it. built by Richard. and believe as you saw when your sight was at its best. But what is that to me? It is to me the drawing nigh of the fresh morning of life. The old mill has been superseded by one of new and rare device. which I have now but hope to possess far more hereafter. I will not take a solemn leave of my friends iust yet." Thus I try to prepare for dark days that may come. I know that my mental faculty is growing weaker. when I shall be young and strong again. God be with you. the truths He revealed to you in strength. in weakness. but which cannot come without God in them. "Perhaps this is the final trial of your faith--to trust in God to take care of your intellect for you. And meantime I hope to be able to communicate some more of the good things experience and thought have taught me. Besides being a great help to me and everybody else almost in Marshmallows. I sit down for a moment on the turf that covers my old friend. and Richard manages the farm. 322 . That is the older and better form of GOOD-BYE. but the old cottage where his wife's parents lived has slowly mouldered back to the dust. Often in the summer days as I go to or come from the vestry. I am only afraid that Martha is not good enough for him. though not quite to his father's satisfaction. But they are doing well notwithstanding. and it may be some more of the events that have befallen my friends and myself in our pilgrimage. of course. and I say to myself. glad in the presence of the wise and beloved dead. Tom has distinguished himself in the literary world j and when I read his books I am yet prouder of my brother-in-law. For then you saw that the Truth was beyond all you could see.

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